A vacant building along Hwy. 10 that formerly housed a supper club and strip joint burned down Sunday in what officials are calling a suspicious fire.
Passersby reported seeing fire burning through the roof of King's Inn in Watab Township, just north of Sauk Rapids, about 9:30 a.m. Sunday, according to Sauk Rapids Fire Chief Jason Fleming.
Because the building appeared to be structurally unsound, firefighters extinguished the fire from the outside, Fleming said. Crews worked to keep smoke at a minimum to avoid unsafe driving conditions along Hwy. 10; crews also worked to keep runoff from entering Little Rock Lake.
"We used the basement for containment so we protected the lake," Fleming said Monday.
The state fire marshal is investigating the fire, and authorities are offering up to $5,000 for a tip leading to an arrest. Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the Benton County Sheriff's Office at 320-968-7201 or the state's arson tip hotline at 1-800-723-2020.
The building is a total loss. It was a supper club from the 1960s to the 1980s, then was a nude dancing club for several years. The building has been empty since the early 2000s.
Property tax records show the owner is Tom Ranallo, whose address is listed as Minneapolis. Attempts to reach Ranallo on Monday were unsuccessful.
Jenny Berg • 612-673-7299