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Update: Southern Minnesota fire being investigated as possible arson

The Sheriff's Department says there were no signs of forced entry on any of the doors to the building, but a window was broken in the back.

Posted: Jan. 2, 2019 5:11 PM
Updated: Jan. 3, 2019 8:15 AM

OAKLAND, Minn. - A fire at Mason Auto Sales is being investigated as possible arson.

Just before 4:30 Wednesday afternoon, Freeeborn County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to Mason Auto Sales in the 86000 block of County Highway 46 for a report of a fire in the office.

At the time, it was also reported that an elderly female lives on the second floor and it wasn't clear whether she was in the building or not.

When deputies arrived on scene, there was smoke coming from the roof but no visible flames.

Three sets of keys were also found lying in the parking lot, about 50 feet from the door.

Nickson Marcello called the fire in, stating he and his girlfriend were there to look at a vehicle, but when they knocked on the door nobody answered and the office was full of smoke.

The owner of the business, Gerald Mason, was there when deputies arrived on scene and said his mother, Joyce Mason, wasn't inside and neither was anyone else.

Gerald reported both a 2008 Green Mercury Mointaneer with Minnesota license plate 230WLR, as well as a 2002 Blue Dodge Ram were missing, along with a safe containing vehicle titles.

The Sheriff's Department says there were no signs of forced entry on any of the doors to the building, but a window was broken in the back.

They say the fire is being investigated as a possible arson and is still under investigation, and there are no suspects at this time.

Hayward Fire Department, Hollandale Fire Department, Myrtle Fire Department, Minnesota State Patrol, Gold Cross Ambulance, and the Minnesota State Fire Marshal's Office all assisted on the scene.

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