Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News)- The Rochester Police Department is reporting the arrest of the woman suspected of setting fire to a church almost two years ago. 

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In May of 2022 Rochester Fire Department investigators determined a fire at Peace United Church of Christ was the result of arson. The fire occurred on April 18 of that year. 

A Rochester Police Spokesperson says detectives completed their investigation and arrested 22-year-old Sesen Tesfay in connection with the fire. 


The Rochester woman was apprehended last week on suspicion of first degree arson, second degree burglary, first degree damage to property and misdemeanor theft.

Rochester Firefighters responded to the church at 1503 2nd Avenue Northeast around 2 a.m. on April 18 and encountered a large amount of thick smoke in the building. 

Rochester Fire Department
photo by Andy Brownell/Townsquare Media

The flames were confined to an area of the lower level between the school and the sanctuary, but there was significant smoke damage throughout the building. 

Fire officials also reported water damage from the sprinkler head that activated and helped control the fire. The total damage the fire was estimated to have inflicted on the church was $2.5 million.

Correction: a previous version of this story stated Tesfay was a man. 

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