Area News | Home | Marketplace | Community

Return to Archived Stories

Paynesville Press - August 2, 2006

Arson investigated for
lumber company fire in Hawick

By Michael Jacobson

An early-morning fire damaged the Monson Lumber Company in Hawick on Saturday morning, believed to have started during a burglary of the business.

Monson Lumber Company The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Department has arrested two men on burglary charges.

Five fire departments doused an early morning fire at the Monson Lumber Company in Hawick on Saturday. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Department arrested two men for burglary, and the cause of the fire is under investigation. The lumberyard, despite having its entire stock damaged, opened for business on Monday.

Gary Alvin Scheel, 54, of Belgrade was arrested for third-degree burglary, attempted theft, and liability of crimes of another. Gregory Allen Scheel, 22, of Paynesville was arrested for third-degree burglary and attempted theft.

The fire was reported at 5:38 a.m. on Saturday morning by a neighbor. According to the sheriff's report, deputies arrived and learned that the lumberyard had been broken into and that a suspect had fled the scene. After further investigation, a search warrant was executed at another location, and the two men were taken into custody. Their first court appearance was scheduled for Tuesday morning at 11 a.m.

According to the sheriff's department, the fire and burglary are believed to be related, and arson is being investigated. The fire marshal is investigating to determine the cause of the blaze.

The fire was put out by the New London Fire Department with assistance from four other fire departments - Atwater, Lake Henry, Paynesville, and Spicer - getting water from Long Lake to battle the blaze.

A lumberyard has existed in Hawick for nearly 58 years, operating for 17 years as Carlson's General Store, then for 28 years as Monson Lumber Sales, and for the past 12 years as Monson Lumber Company, owned by Jeff Monson and Richard Rooney, both of Hawick.

Despite the challenges ahead, business has continued, said Rooney. "On Monday morning, we opened up. It's not quite business as usual, but we're open for business," he said.

The fire was contained in the office building, according to Rooney, but did structural damage and destroyed their stock due to heat, smoke, fire, and water damage.

Challenges include fulfilling existing orders and replenishing their stock. "We have to be strong and keep going," said Rooney.

They plan to set up a temporary office on the lot this week, he added.

"With the help of our loyal contractors and friends and customers, I think we'll make it," he said. "Lots of people have offered help already. I think we'll take them up on it."

Contact the author at   •   Return to News Menu

Home | Marketplace | Community