FARGO — City police say they suspect a juvenile set a fire that heavily damaged a south Fargo strip mall in May.
"Detectives have conducted a thorough, detailed investigation following up on all leads and have identified a juvenile as a person of interest," Fargo Police Department spokeswoman Jessica Schindeldecker said in a news release Tuesday, July 20. "The report was forwarded to the Juvenile Court for review."
No other details were released. Police did not release the suspect's name as juvenile cases are normally sealed from the public.
The case involves a May 11 arson at a strip mall at 3242 20th St. S. in Fargo.
That fire destroyed Bodyworks physical therapy and GiGi's Playhouse, an "achievement center" for people with Down syndrome, and caused an estimated $1.25 million in damage.
Fire Chief Steve Dirksen said in early June that the origin of the strip mall fire had been pinpointed to the exterior southeast corner.
The building is not a perfect rectangle, he said, but juts out to the east in that back corner. There, between Body Works and Gigi’s Playhouse, is where it started, he said.
Other fires earlier this year were also intentionally set, according to fire and police investigators, including fires on April 11 and March 22 at the former Mid America Steel site in downtown Fargo.
Two juveniles, a 15-year-old female and a 16-year-old male, were referred to juvenile court in connection with the April 11 fire, police said.
In the case of the March 22 fire, which heavily damaged an abandoned two-story office building on the Mid America site, Riley James Keeping, 18, of Fargo, was charged with conspiracy to commit arson.
Police said two juveniles were also identified as suspects in that case and turned over to juvenile court officials.