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A group of River Falls firefighters rested about 6 a.m. Tuesday as crews continued to fight the arson blaze that caused an estimated $1.5 million in damage. Steve Dzubay photo.

Feds involved in Roberts school fire investigation; $5,000 reward offered for arsonist's arrest

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Feds involved in Roberts school fire investigation; $5,000 reward offered for arsonist's arrest
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The upper Midwest field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced Wednesday that it is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the arson fire that caused an estimated $1.5 million in damage to the St. Croix Central Elementary School in Roberts early Tuesday morning.

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Scott D. Sweetow, special agent in charge of the St. Paul office, said "this arson was an attack on a public institution that displaced

hundreds of students and educators for the remainder of the school year.

"Destruction of public property by arson is a particularly cowardly violent crime and I will make sure that all of ATF's resources are made available throughout this investigation".

ATF and the State of Wisconsin-Department of Justice-Division of Criminal Investigation-State Fire Marshal's Office conducted a fire scene examination and determined the fire was deliberately set, Sweetow said.

The loss value of the school and contents is estimated to be approximately $1.5 million dollars. The Roberts Police Department, St. Croix Sheriff's Department, River Falls Police Department and Wisconsin State Patrol are also assisting on the investigation.

Investigators are seeking the public's help in solving this crime and are hopeful that the reward will provide additional leads.

The fire was reported at 3:44 a.m., Tuesday. Firefighters from eight departments assisted Roberts-Warren fire crews in suppressing the blaze.

Investigators are seeking the public's help in solving this crime and are hopeful that the reward will provide additional leads.

Anyone with information about the fire can call the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department anonymously anytime at 715-386-4701 or they can call the ATF hotline at 608-441-5050.

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