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Arson investigation underway at Golden Valley building housing several conservative organizations

Golden Valley fire started by arson, investigators say
Golden Valley fire started by arson, investigators say 02:11

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Investigators now believe someone intentionally set a Golden Valley office building on fire this weekend. The fire started early Friday morning and damaged offices belonging to three organizations with politically conservative agendas.

According to city fire officials, a fire alarm was reported at 2:11 a.m. Sunday at a building on the 8400 block of Wayzata Boulevard. While fire crews were responding, it was reported that there was an active fire in the building. The fire was put out quickly by firefighters and there were no injuries, officials said.

Video from inside shows shades of black and gray, but the people who work at the building see the situation as clearly black and white. The office building houses several conservative businesses, including TakeCharge, the Center of the American Experiment and the Upper Midwest Law Center.

"This is idea-based. It's the cancel culture," said Kendall Qualls, president of TakeCharge.


Qualls says someone broke into the building and set two fires. One of the fires was set on the first floor in the hallway between TakeCharge's offices and the Center of the American Experiment. The second was set on the third floor either outside or inside the offices of the Upper Midwest Law Center.

Qualls says he believes his business was targeted "because we are a conservative Black organization disputing the narrative of systemic racism."

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"This false narrative of systemic racism and White privilege, that's not popular in our culture today, the message of diversity, equity and inclusion. The words sound great but the meaning and practice of it is counter to our narrative and who we are as Americans," Qualls said. "It is extremely concerning that we may have been the target of an arson attack, constituting an act of domestic terrorism."

John Hinderaker is president of the Center of the American Experiment. 

"They targeted conservative organizations, they didn't firebomb the chiropractors or psychologists or the Manufacturers Alliance. We are cooperating with the FBI to try to identify the perpetrators," Hinderaker said. "Sometimes when you get attacked, it reinforces that you're being effective. It makes you want to work that much harder."

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed with WCCO that the agency also responded to the fire and it is being investigated as "an act of arson."

The investigation is also being conducted by the Golden Valley Fire Department, Hennepin County Fire Investigative Team, Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division and the FBI.

No one was hurt in the fire and no one has been arrested.

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