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Under Dogs in Jenkins sustained heavy damage from a fire late Aug. 10/early Aug. 11. Photo by Travis Grimler

Historic Jenkins building burns

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Underdogs Bar & Grill in Jenkins sustained heavy damage in a Sunday, Aug. 10, fire.

The Pequot Lakes Fire Department responded to the call at 10:58 p.m. and requested mutual aid from Nisswa and Pine River fire departments. Fire crews cleared the scene after 1 a.m. the next morning. Though the building shows little damage from the exterior, interior damage is extensive.

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"Most of the inside is pretty well burned up. The structure has a couple holes towards the roof. The fire did get up into the attic. It took us a while to get that out," Pequot Lakes Fire Chief Tom Nelson said.

After preliminary discussions with his insurance company, business owner Bill Moen said the building is a loss.

"It's totalled. There's no repairing it," Moen said.

Nelson said nobody was in the building when the fire started, and nobody was injured. He didn't declare a cause for the fire.

"There are too many variables. It's not looking suspicious, but as far as the actual cause, it's still undetermined. We're working with the fire marshal's office on that," Nelson said.

Moen said the building was home to approximately 100 years of Jenkins history. He said during its lifetime it has been a municipal liquor store, post office and church. The building has seen many renovations, which might make investigation into a possible electrical source for the fire difficult.

"With all the different electrical stuff going on it's going to be hard to pinpoint an actual cause," Nelson said.

The future of Underdogs is uncertain. Moen said he is waiting on his insurance company to decide whether to rebuild, relocate or close.

"I'm keeping everything open. Right now I'm kind of numb. I don't know what I'm thinking for sure. Everything's spinning through my head 100 miles per hour right now," Moen said.

Moen also said he may be limited by the amount his insurance is willing to pay for the building.

"I don't have a ton of insurance because with a building so old it's only worth so much," he said.

Moen said he has gotten an immediate response from the local community.

"I've just had a lot of support from the community calling. That's always nice. It's always very, very nice when people stop in and show a little support. It made my day a little better anyhow," he said.

Mark Germain of the State Fire Marshal's Office began investigation of the structure on Monday, Aug. 11. Nelson said additional investigation into electrical utilities could hinge on decisions made by Moen's insurance company. Moen has owned the business for approximately 10 years and said it was known for quality, affordable food.

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