Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fjelde House Arson Investigation--Hot Information Leaks About Liquid Accelerant

Photo by John Hoff

A reliable source reports that, several days ago, Council Member Elizabeth Glidden invited city staff to a CANDO meeting at Sabathani to discuss the decision-making regarding the Fjelde house demolition and to hear resident concerns. Although the arson investigation is not complete or released, city staff were able to state that the investigators know that a liquid accelerant was used to start the fire.

This seems to rule out the scenario of a typical squatter starting a fire to get warm and seems to point more in the direction of deliberate arson.

(Do not click "Read More")

(Blog post by John Hoff, from a hotel room in Lake Charles, Lousiana)


1915bung said...

I believe at that same meeting there were inferences from individuals with inside knowledge of the investigation that suggested that:

1.The fire was able to spread so quickly through the structure because structural elements were tampered with that allowed the fire to spread rapidly between the floors.

2. The Minneapolis Fire Department had exhausted the first fire and done a sweep of the building to ensure that the fire had been contained when later that night a separate "second" fire broke out in the structure. Was the fire scene secured and did anyone but the Schoffmans have access to that property?

Also important to the demise of the building was the fact that a Structural Report had been commissioned on December 7th by Schoffmans structural engineer to try and convince the city that the building was not structurally sound.

According to the city, they told Schoffman that he was under order to address the open roof before the end of the year.

In not less than 6 conversations with Mr. Schoffman and his representatives, the City warned the Schoffmans that repair of the roof was to proceed with all due diligence to the weakened condition of the roof structure of the home and instructed him not to place additional load on the roof.

Never the less, on December 23th with full knowledge of the structural condition of the roof from the engineering data presented to him by his hired engineers and the continued warnings of city employees, Mr. Schoffman ordered a Menards Inc. delivery driver to place an over sized load of roofing materials in a location on the roof that created additional structural failure. Was anyone from Menards Inc. ever contacted in relation to who was responsible for placing this load?

Since the structure was under interim protection for historic designation and Schoffmans had a documented Engineering study giving him knowledge of the consequences of his actions; shouldn't he be held liable for the destruction of the property?

Did Schoffman use information from that Structural report and access to the building to undermine the Cities efforts to protect this historic asset and crime scene?

No Building permit was ever taken out for roof repair of 3009 Park which leads officials to believe that it was never his intent to actually do any repairs.

Since there is still an ongoing First Degree Criminal Arson Investigation (first degree stemming from the injury to a fire officer) and no information is available eliminating the Schoffmans as being primary suspects in this fire; many wonder why he was allowed to maintain access to a property that he had so fervidly campaigned to destroy over the past year?

Johnny Northside said...

Good question. Which Menards was it? Who was the operator who placed the load, and who is his manager?

Anonymous said...

I don't know. However, I believe all the Menard Stores are connected through a central computer so a visit to one store would indicate when and who did the delivery from a search of the date and address.

I am sure that not every day a load of lumber is not ordered to be put onto a burned out building and this might stick in the mind of that employee. Besides, the materials where probably returned for a credit-lol.

MeganG. said...

I say HOLD HIM ACCOUNTABLE! Prosecute him!

Can we sign a petition or something? What about a class action, civil suit type action from the surrounding neighbors?

Anonymous said...

Why would he be held liable for the destruction of his OWN PROPERTY. What you people don't seem to get is that IT ISN'T YOURS. If you wanted it so bad you should have PURCHASED THE PROPERTY. Hello!

Johnny Northside said...


The property was under regulatory protection by the municipal powers-that-be. The powers-that-be said it was to be PRESERVED. Instead it was ARSONED.

If whoever set the place on fire thought he had a perfect right to do it, why not do it OPENLY? Why not stand there with the gas and say, I HAVE A RIGHT TO DO THIS AND I'M DOING IT.

If whoever did the arson actually operates in that kind of ultra-purist radical laissez faire way, then let him come forward and say so openly instead of letting the authorities pour time, effort and money into an arson investigation.

To Megan: good idea. Now, where is the lawyer who is going to work for free and do this, or the money to pay the lawyer?

Oh, for an old-fashioned small town lawyer who works for baskets of vegetables, a dozen eggs and some chickens while fighting the good fight...


Anonymous said...

If the powers that be decide that private property should be preserved then they should have purchased the property so they would have the right to PRESERVE the property. See Amendment number five of that troublesome document we live under.

" No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. "

Anon commenter who prefers not to give pro-arson activists my real name said...

It's interesting how the "legalize arson!" commenter (a.k.a. Anon 8:08 & Anon 10:27) assumes that the person who burned down the Fjelde house is the same person who owned the building.

1915bung said...

"Why would he be held liable for the destruction of his OWN PROPERTY. What you people don't seem to get is that IT ISN'T YOURS. If you wanted it so bad you should have PURCHASED THE PROPERTY. Hello!"

Because we live in a society of laws and mutual respect for the individuals around us. Schoffman tried to destroy the property by legal means by going through the hearing and appeal process and lost.

Assuming that the 2nd anonymous post is by the same individual, I would say that you certainly have a self serving interpretation of the constitution which protects your rights to the detriment of your neighbors.

Due process of law means that if you want to purchase and rezone investment property of a residential neighborhood into a parking lot for one of your business's you have to get consensus from the community to do so.

I also believe that the constitution upholds the rights of the community to establish laws that prevent individuals from First Degree Arson if they don't get there way with the City Council.

Perhaps you can find a quote from the Bible that better indemnifies Schoffmans rights over those of his neighbors?

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

To the pro-arson anonymous commenter(s):

So if I own a property, unencumbered by obligations to another person or institution, and I want to destroy it, what is the proper way to go about doing so? And let's assume that I'm also not committing any kind of insurance fraud. Maybe I just want a garden. Aren't gardens nice? Who doesn't like gardens?

Oh, but the big bad city government and my neighbors LIKE the house, and have thwarted my best efforts to demolish it. Am I now granted the right to cover the property with an accelerant like gasoline and toss a match to the house? What if this was next door to you?

The one flaw in all of this is that the HPC's list of "potential" historically designated properties is not publicly searchable, even though the fully designated list is. Although I somehow doubt that would have prevented the Schoffmans from their attempted course of action.

Other than that one issue, the laws that were or should be enforced in this situation are all ones that - like it or not - were no secret to these people. And it was those same laws, that place a premium on the rights of a property owner, that failed us because those laws place the property on a course towards demolition.

1915bung said...

The few photos from the Havtek Structural Consulting, LTD. report really show an unusual pattern of fire hot spots on multiple floors of this structure. Typical of intentional arson but not representative of an accident caused by vagrants or vandalism. Someone wanted this building to be completely consumed by this fire.

I find it really interesting that a photo on Page 8 of the Havtek Structural Consulting, LTD. report prepared on December 7th shows a broken 2nd story floor joist.

The photo has very slight charring along the side of this joist which shows that it was taken after the fire; however, since the break is a clean stress fracture this means that it happened after the fire but before December 7th when the report was prepared.

According to the City the additional load set on the roof was supposed to be the determining factor in authorizing emergency demolition. So did someone come in after the fire (and before the report) and cause further damage to some of the main components?

How long before we hear something about this First Degree Arson investigation from the City?

Johnny Northside! said...

One piece of "roof repair spam" rejected.