Forest City police say the fire that nearly destroyed the Timberland Museum in Winnebago County was intentionally set. It took about 45 minutes to contain the blaze Wednesday morning. The fire destroyed more than half the artifacts in the museum, including antique farm implements, historic photos and old-fashioned household goods. Forest City Fire Chief Doug Yeager says he doesn’t think the fire started by accident. The Chief says investigation has shown the Heritage Park fire was arson, and he asks anyone with a tip to call the fire department or local Arson Hotline. Chief Yeager says they were glad nobody was in the building at the time the fire broke out. He says it’s a treasure and to find it appears to be arson “leaves a bad taste.” Friends and relatives of the museum’s founders, who are helping clean up and salvage artifacts, had helped move the museum to its new location not long ago. They took photos to catalog all the items before the move, and now those pictures will help them restore and label the surviving artifacts in weeks to come.
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