Strip mall fire in Fargo was intentionally set, officials say

The May 11 fire burned through two businesses.

A strip mall is hit with water from different directions Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at 25th Street and 32nd Avenue South, Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

FARGO — A fire that tore through the southern half of a south Fargo strip mall in May was intentionally set, the Fargo Fire Department said Tuesday, June 8.

On the afternoon of May 11, dispatchers received a report of a fire at Bodyworks Physical Therapy, 3242 20th St. S., a business at the south end of the strip mall just off of 32nd Avenue South.

Bodyworks owner Amanda Helgoe said she and employees of the business smelled smoke in the building and started to search for its source before finding a fire in the rear of the building between Bodyworks and a neighboring business.


Investigators have not released many details about the fire, including how it was started and where, and the Fargo Fire Department could not confirm whether the fire started in the rear of the building.


A fire that burned through the southern half of a south Fargo strip mall at 20th Street and 32nd Avenue in May was intentionally set according to the Fargo Fire Department. David Samson / The Forum

The fire burned through the attic of the strip mall, damaging the physical therapy center and GiGi's Playhouse, a business that describes itself as an "achievement center" for individuals with Down syndrome. Officials estimated the fire caused around $1.25 million in damage.

Officials classified the blaze as a three-alarm fire as crews from Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead responded to the scene.

A firefighter suffered a minor injury but no others were hurt, according to a report from the Fargo Fire Department.

Fargo fire officials referred questions about the investigation to Fargo police. A police spokesman confirmed Tuesday morning that an investigation was ongoing and that no arrests had been made.

An earlier version of this story stated the fire started in the attic of Bodyworks. Investigators have not released their conclusion on where the fire started.

What To Read Next
Get Local