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Photo courtesy Toni Korpi, April 7, 2024

Bandshell destroyed by fire

By Randy Thoms Apr 8, 2024 | 3:37 PM

The mayor of International Falls is calling a fire at the bandshell at Smokey Bear Park a complete loss.

The fire at the bandshell broke out shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday.

Members of the International Falls Fire Department arrived to find heavy smoke before the building became fully engulfed.

Fire officials say the nature of the building’s construction made it difficult to fight the fire.

The building was wood framed with stucco covering the outside walls and rubber flat roofs.

The shell was also framed with wood with a metal roof covering.

Twenty-four firefighters and four firetrucks were on scene for five hours.

An initial investigation suggests the fire to be incendiary in nature.

International Falls Police Department and the Minnesota State Fire Marshall are also looking into the cause.

Mayor Harley Droba called it a sad disaster for the city.

Thank you to our firefighters, police and staff for their work today at Pete Peterson Band Shell! All city staff are…

Posted by Mayor Harley M. Droba on Sunday, April 7, 2024

The bandshell was built in 1940 and later renamed Irving “Pete” Peterson Band Shell in recognition of the long-time music teacher and his efforts to promote the musical arts.

It was refurbished in 1997.