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Co-op arson fire ignites passion for bigger and better store

Mark Russo w-Co-op Prez (Download MP3)
Battalion Chief Mike Top (Download MP3)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO AM) - The president of the Co-op Natural Foods Store in Sioux Falls says the arson fire has ignited a passion among members to come back with something bigger and better.

Alex Halbach says the Co-op is now looking for temporary quarters, even as it considers rebuilding at Duluth Avenue or going somewhere else in town. He says they were already working on plans for a bigger facility.

If you want to donate to pay Co-op workers or for other things not covered by insurance, Halbach says an account has been set up at Sioux Falls Federal Credit Union.

Sioux Falls Fire/Rescue investigators found four areas where an arsonist lit fires in the building early Sunday morning.

Battalion Chief Mike Top says someone put a flame to office paper and bags of cookies and chips.  

Officer Sam Clemens says police now have the investigation.  He says while they don't investigate many arsons, it's like any other type of crime.  He says detectives are working to determine what happened.  He says it may be premature to say the arson was cover for a burglary.              

The Co-op says inventory losses are over $100,000.

Fire/rescue says the building remains structurally sound.