Historic Darling church engulfed in early morning fire; reward offered for information

Staff Writer
By the time firefighters were called in, the Darling Church was already engulfed in flames. firefighters worked to keep the fire from spreading.
 By the time firefighters were called in, the Darling Church was already engulfed in flames. firefighters worked to keep the fire from spreading. Photo courtesy of Nick Mielke.

An early morning fire Friday consumed a historic Morrison County church, as firefighters worked to keep the flames from spreading.

Around 3:30 a.m., firefighters from Randall responded to the Darling Church on Highway 10 between Randall and Little Falls after a passerby reported the building was already engulfed in flames.

The Randall Fire Department brought 25 firefighters and six trucks, one engine, two tankers and support trucks, to fight the fire for three hours.

Fire Chief Scott Hughson said the department had to shuttle water in from Randall as there was no fire hydrant at the site.

Hughson said by the time the department arrived, it was too dangerous to go inside the building. The department focused on containing the fire to keep it from spreading to nearby trees, Hughson said.

He said the Morrison County Sheriff’s Department and the State Fire Marshal are currently investigating the fire.

Later on Friday, the Morrison County Sheriff’s Department released a statement saying the fire is being investigated as arson.

The Minnesota Arson Reward Project is offering up to a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in this incident. If you have any information please contact the Hot-Line at 1-800-723-2020, or the Morrison County Sheriff’s Office at 320-632-9233.