Teen who built elaborate tree fort: "Someone ran from the fire" - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Teen who built elaborate tree fort: "Someone ran from the fire"


ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC)-- A 15-year-old Rochester teen who watched his elaborate tree fort go up in flames Tuesday night says a neighbor spotted a young girl running from the area moments before the fire broke out.

The tree fort had four floors, a bed, fire pole and even a locked door, "it took us about two months last summer, day after day. We'd wake up in the morning and go build it," says Austin Ruosu who started building the fort last year.

At first, it appeared firefighters were dealing with a brush fire in northwest Rochester on Tuesday night. But eventually, they learned the fire was actually coming from a neighborhood fort built by Rousu and some of his friends.

"All we know is that our neighbors saw someone run from the fort after the fire started," says the teen.

Fire officials are unaware of anyone having fled the scene in the moments leading up to Tuesday's blaze and don't consider the incident arson but say they would look into the matter if it appeared suspicious.

"If there was information out there that there was a specific person of interest, we would go and talk to them," says Larry Mueller of the Rochester Fire Department.

Regardless of how it happened, all that's left are the charred remnance of summer's past and the hope that maybe something better, will rise from the ashes.

"We have no more wood to build another one and this is where we pretty much hung out everyday during the summer."


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