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Bois Forte Tribal Government Headquarters destroyed in fire

NETT LAKE, Minn. - The Bois Forte Tribal Government Headquarters in Nett Lake sustained a severe fire early Monday morning. Firefighters from the Bois Forte Fire Department and the Orr Fire Department battled the fire.

Tribal Chairman Kevin Leecy said no one was in the building. "We are fortunate no one was injured and we are grateful to firefighters for their efforts. However, the building was a total loss."

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Preliminary reports indicate a vehicle fire near the building may have ignited the structure.

The building housed the Tribe's administration and finance offices, its leasing, grant administration and language preservation program, planning, fuel assistance, IT, a registrar and the tribal council chambers.

"This is no doubt a setback," Leecy said, "but we have a strong team that will pull together, and our tribal government programs and services will continue."

A nearby, secondary tribal government building known as the DNR building, which houses the Tribal Council, the DNR and water quality, was not damaged by the fire.

In an ironic twist, Bois Forte had planned an Aug. 11 groundbreaking for a new government and community services facility that would replace many of the offices lost in the fire.