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Associated Press , Published September 16 2013

Business owners assess losses in Winona fire

WINONA, Minn. — The owners of buildings and businesses damaged in last week's fire in downtown Winona are taking inventory of their losses.

Three buildings were a total loss in Friday's blaze that burned several businesses, apartments and a mosque in an older part of the downtown area.

Torry Moore owns a sporting goods store called Sole Sport.

"Since our building is pretty much gone, I don't think we're going to be able to get back in there," Moore told Minnesota Public Radio. "To keep the business going we're going to have to find another location in the area to get in to and figure out what inventory was lost, which I guess is probably most of it."

Amy Jo Marks owns a clothing store, Pretty Things on Third. The store's contents are covered in soot, Marks said.

"We just got all our fall inventory in, so the store's loaded and it's unfortunate because it's a lot of nice, high end stuff that's just isn't going to be usable to us anyway," she said.

Investigators continue to look for the cause of the fire, which they believe started in the Islamic Center of Winona. Rubble from the mosque has been carted to the city's central fire station where investigators are combing through the debris.

Fire investigators over the weekend finished cleaning by hand as much as they could of the rubble inside the back corner of the Islamic center, Deputy Winona Police Chief Tom Williams told KAGE Radio.

Authorities have ruled nothing in or out, spokesman Doug Neville of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said Monday. He said the investigation is expected to take a while.

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Information from: KAGE-AM, http://www.winonaradio.com


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