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Fire causes minor damage to Paul Bunyan Playhouse

Bemidji firefighters respond to a fire Wednesday night at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse. Photo Courtesy Bemidji Fire Department.

A small fire caused about $7,500 worth of damage to the Paul Bunyan Playhouse Wednesday night.

According to a press release from the Bemidji Fire Department:

Occupants of the Playhouse reported at 11:11 p.m. that they could see and smell smoke inside the building.

Initial Bemidji firefighters were on scene within three minutes of receiving the call and found smoke coming from the front exterior sign of the Playhouse.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire in the sign and prevented any spread into the building, said Fire Chief Dave Hoefer in the release.

This was the second fire call to the Playhouse in about two weeks. On Sunday, July 10, firefighters responded to a small fire in the marquee sign, similar to where Wednesday's fire occurred.

But Hoefer told the Pioneer the two fires are not related.

"It was the same area, but they were two separate events," he said, noting that the more recent fire was more involved.

No one was injured.

"The key to this was early detection," he said.

Firefighters were on scene for about an hour and used two fire engines and a ladder truck.

The damage is estimated at about $7,500, according to the release.

The cause of the fire in under investigation, but no foul play is suspected.

Assisting at the scene were the Bemidji Police Department, U.S. Border Patrol and Bemidji Ambulance Service.