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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

April 18, 2011

Contact: Special Agent Robert Schmidt, PIO-ATF

(651) 726-0316

ATF Announces Up To $5,000 Reward for Information on Downtown Atwater Arson

ST. PAUL – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) St. Paul Field Division Special Agent in Charge Bernard J. Zapor announced today the posting of an award of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the arson fire that destroyed three downtown businesses in Atwater, Minn.

On Feb. 28, at approximately 12:43 a.m., a fire was reported at Phat Pheasant Pasta and Brew located on Atlantic Avenue. The fire quickly spread to two adjacent businesses, Holm Brothers Plumbing and Heating and Peterson Hardware. The Atwater Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene and subsequently suppressed the large structure fire. ATF, Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division (MSFMD), Atwater Police Department and the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office conducted a fire scene examination and determined the fire was deliberately set. The loss value of the three businesses is estimated at approximately $2 million.

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

Anyone having information about the arson should call the following 24-hour anonymous hotline:

ATF Fire Hotline: (888) ATF-FIRE or (888) 283-3473

Callers may also provide information anonymously by contacting these offices:

  • LATF’s St. Paul IV Field Office at (651) 726-0260
  • LMSFMD Arson Reward Project at (800) 723-2020
  • Willmar Crime Stoppers at (320) 235-3640
  • More information about ATF and its programs is available at