When Bonanzaville in West Fargo was flooded with more than 200,000 gallons of water early this year, the Cass County Historical society blamed it on vandals.
However, a Cass County Sheriff's Office investigation has found no definitive proof the flooding was caused by a malicious act, and instead pointed to "human error" by Bonanzaville workers as the likeliest culprit.
But the historical attraction's management says it's unfair to jump to any conclusions. John Lund, board president of the Cass County Historical Society, said some people may have misinterpreted a part of the report, thinking it meant that the flood was certainly an employee's fault.
"We agree with the sheriff's report. Again, it says the evidence leans toward it . . . and we agree that it does," Lund said. "But there's a period of time that we have an inability to collect evidence from that could have been a window of opportunity for someone to have done something."
On Jan. 6, a Bonanzaville employee discovered massive amounts of frozen water around the South Pleasant Church. She heard running water and found it flowing from two outdoor spigots at the church on the east side of the village.
The Cass County Historical Society blamed vandals for the damage, saying someone broke into the site sometime around the night of Dec. 31 to turn on the water.
There was an outpouring of public help. Thousands of dollars in donations were made to the historical society, and an excavation company sent a skid-steer loader to help chip away at ice.
Bonanzaville launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for repairs, and more than $4,500 was raised - well above the $2,500 goal. Funds raised so far will go toward repairs and any leftover would pay for extra surveillance. The total cost of damages will be known in the spring when the ice starts to melt.
Lund said anyone can contact the historical society if they want a refund because of uncertainty over what caused the damage. Still, he stressed that things are still up in the air as to what caused the flooding.
"I think there has been some misinterpretation or miscommunication about what the report said," he said. "We think that's a little bit unjust to the sheriff's office and potentially to Bonanzaville."