ST. CLOUD - We finish our countdown of the Top 10 Local news stories of 2014 today with our #1 story of the year.


The historic Roosevelt Early Childhood Center building was destroyed by a fire that started late on June 14th. Firefighters worked all night and into the morning to fight the blaze, but ultimately had to take down the building.

St. Cloud fire chief Bill Mund said as many as eight fire hydrants were used at once by various departments battling the blaze. Heavy equipment was called in to demolish the building and put out hot spots. Firefighters later confirmed that a lightning strike caused the fire.

Data was obtained from Weather Fusion, LLC that documented a significant cloud to ground event in the location of the school. Eyewitness statements also matched with the data.

The school was at 3015 Third Street North and was built back in 1920. It was home for early childhood services and included programs like children special education, early childhood family education, district preschool and early childhood assessment.

For the intermediate future, the St. Cloud area school district has moved most of Roosevelt's programs into Colts' Academy.

School board chair Jerry Von Korff says the board is still a ways away from making any long term decisions on where to relocate the programs.

In the long term, the district is hoping to get a new building at the existing Roosevelt site or the Wilson site. Superintendent Willie Jett has said the board wants to move into a state-of-the-art Early Childhood and Community Education building.

The community rallied to provide support for the district, donating money and school supplies to replace those lost in the fire. Fundraisers and garage sale benefits were held to gather supplies.

St. Cloud mayor Dave Kleis said losing the building was a sad situation that impacted many residents, but he's thankful nobody was hurt.

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