Updated: 1:15 p.m.
An early morning fire heavily damaged the historic John H. Stevens House in Minneapolis Saturday, putting the future of the landmark into question. It’s the third fire on the site in just more than a month.
When firefighters arrived around 3:42 a.m., they found flames in the rear corner of the building. They cut through a fence and boards, placed to protect the homes after the last two fires, to battle the flames, according to the Minneapolis Fire Department.
The fire also extended through the roof. There were no injuries.
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A mobile surveillance camera is in the area, but it is unclear whether it captured the latest incident.
The first fire happened on August 30, and burned through a first-floor wall and extended into the second floor. The cause is undetermined. An investigative report on the fire on September 20th is pending. That fire was confined to the exterior of the building.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board worked over the past few weeks to assess damage and secure and stabilize the building after the first two fires. A temporary perimeter fence was installed, and there’s plans to install a more permanent, non-climbable fence. Items inside the home have been catalogued and removed and there were plans to restore the building in 2023. The house is insured; an insurance company vendor had completed cleaning the interior this week.
“Following an assessment by a historic architect and structural engineer that determined the structure could be rebuilt, work has been underway to weather the building for winter and begin development of design documents for repairs and rebuilding the house in 2023,” a spokesperson for the board said in a statement. “With today’s fire, additional assessment and determinations will need to be made.”
The landmark near Minnehaha Falls is one of the oldest residential structures in the city, dating back to about 1850.