Investigation into rural Deer Creek fire continues
By Chad Koenen
A former school, which has most recently been used as the Compton Town Hall, was severely damaged by fire on Thursday.
According to Deer Creek Fire Chief Travis Collins, local fire departments were dispatched for a fire in rural Deer Creek around 3:10 a.m. on Thursday morning. Collins said the cause of the fire is currently under investigation, but arson is suspected. He said much of the damage occurred on the outside of the building and in the attic area.
The structure, located in Compton Township, was built more than 100 years ago, in the 1920s. It was a former school building, but most recently was being used as the Compton Town Hall.
Anyone with information regarding the cause of the fire is asked to contact the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office at 218-998-8555 or the arson hotline at 800-723-2020.
Crews were on the scene of the fire for about three hours. In addition to the Deer Creek Fire Department, fire departments from Wadena and Bluffton responded to the fire.
Compton Township, organized July 31, 1875, in eastern Otter Tail County, commemorates James Compton, an early pioneer.
He was born in Pennsylvania in 1840 and served during the Civil War with Pennsylvania and Illinois regiments, attaining the rank of captain.
Compton came to Minnesota in 1872, settling in Fergus Falls. He assisted in organizing the First National Bank and was cashier until 1891.
Later, Compton was commandant of the Minnesota Soldiers’ Home in the Twin Cities. He died in Minneapolis on Jan. 14, 1908.
Editor’s note: Otter Tail County Correspondent Tom Hintgen contributed to this article