Federal officials on Tuesday announced they are offering $5,000 for information behind the fire last week that tore through a vacant Minneapolis apartment building.
The reward in connection with the blaze at 2312 S. Lyndale Av. on Saturday is being posted even though investigators have yet to deem the fire suspicious.
"Offering this reward does not mean that any determination as to the cause of the fire has been made. The team is looking at multiple possibilities, and the possibility of accidental, or intentional causes has not been ruled out," read a statement from William McCrary, the special agent in charge of the St. Paul Field Division of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).
"Our intent for the reward is to expedite the investigation by helping to narrow down possible causes, all of which is a part of our investigative process," McCrary added. "We encourage people who have valuable information to come forward and help bring this investigation to a successful conclusion."
The building is owned by C. David George. In September, a condemned building in Loring Park owned by George was also damaged by fire. Nobody was hurt in either blaze, but officials said squatters inhabited both buildings. In the Lyndale Avenue fire, a person jumped from the second floor to escape.
The ATF's national response team was activated shortly after the blaze and has been working at the scene to determine the origin and cause of the fire. The team brought in excavating equipment on Tuesday and was dismantling the wreckage in the search for evidence.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the ATF at 888-ATF-TIPS (888-283-8477), by email at atf.gov/atf-tips or submit anonymously via ReportIt.com.
The ATF, the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson, is working on the investigation with Minneapolis fire and police personnel and the Minnesota Fire Marshal Division.