Authorities seeking persons of interest after small fire at Corn Palace

Authorities are seeking help to identify three individuals who Mitchell Fire Marshal Shannon Sandoval says are persons of interest in the investigation of the origins of the fire that broke out and was contained before severe damage was caused.

Fire crews respond to a small fire at the Corn Palace on Thursday, Aug. 12. (Hunter Dunteman / Republic)

A small fire broke out at the Corn Palace Thursday, and authorities have asked the public for assistance identifying three persons of interest.

At approximately 4:30 p.m., first responders were called to the Corn Palace for a report of a fire burning on the building's southeast corner, behind the outdoor Corn Palace Plaza stage.

Upon arrival, two separate straw piles were burning on the ground, and winds were stoking the flames, with one of the piles abutting the building.

After emergency crews contained the blaze around 4:45 p.m. Thursday, video surveillance footage showed three individuals leaving the scene. The Mitchell Public Safety Department is seeking help to identify these three individuals who were deemed as persons of interest in connection to the fire.

Fireworks debris could be seen on the ground near the fire. Mitchell Fire Chief Marius Laursen said he had never a fire of this sort in his career.


Fire crews arrived on scene less than two minutes after being dispatched, and put out the fire in less than five minutes. According to Fire Marshal Shannon Sandoval, the blaze threatened a canopy in the Corn Palace Plaza but otherwise caused limited damage to the ground. Sandoval is continuing to investigate the incident.

Anyone who may recognize the persons of interest is asked to call the Mitchell Department of Public Safety at 605-995-8400.

Corn Palace Fire Persons of Interest

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on regional news that impacts the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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