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He didn’t start the fire, or did he?

Brad Williams



Seventeen years ago, in 2002, former Lanesboro police chief John Tuchek was put on trial for setting a building on fire in his town. Tuchek was hoping to get his ex-girlfriend to come back to him, and he wanted to do something heroic, like rescuing her from a fire. So, the chief arranged for a fire, lighting a match to some cardboard boxes outside the woman’s apartment. She was saved, but three buildings in Lanesboro burned to the ground. Tuchek was convicted of arson and sentenced to prison, and the owners of the burned buildings sued him for starting the fire.

The Night Train was rolling in La Crosse. It was an indoor football team at the La Crosse Center, which finished its first season with a 1-13 record.

And 2002 marked the 250th anniversary of the night Ben Franklin flew a kite in the rain to prove a link between lightning and electricity. Some skeptics doubt that Franklin’s 1752 experiment really happened, because his son was the only witness. But folks still got a charge out of the story in 2002, yesterday in La Crosse.

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