Historic Stevens House in Minneapolis catches fire for third time since August

For the third time since the end of August, Minneapolis firefighters had to extinguish a fire at the historic John H. Stevens House in Minnehaha Park early Saturday morning.

When Minneapolis firefighters responded to the latest fire at 3:42 a.m., the two-story residential building, dubbed the "birthplace of Minneapolis," was still under construction from the previous two fires, which occurred on Sept. 20 and Aug. 30, according to a press release from the Minneapolis Fire Department.

Firefighters arrived to find heavy flames coming from the rear corner of the building, with the fire extending from the first floor to the roof near the chimney, the release says.

Crews cut through a fence and boards to gain entry and used a ladder to get to the roof before extinguishing the fire, according to the release. No one was injured.

Stevens' House was built in 1849-1850 above St. Anthony Falls, and moved to Minnehaha Park in 1896 and then to its current location in 1982, according to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.  

Stevens was an early settler and the house where Minneapolis and Hennepin Country were first formed.

"Three times is beyond suspicious, three times is deliberate," said Minneapolis historian Karen E. Cooper. "It's deliberate, it's a deliberate crime."

Cooper has no doubt that, after three fires, someone is targeting the historic home. A temporary six-foot metal fence was put up around the home following the first fire. The Minneapolis Park Board tells FOX 9 they are working to put up a higher fence that is not able to be climbed, as soon as possible.

"It's always happening from behind [the house]," said Cooper. "You always have to be behind the house to see what's happened."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.