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A MAZE-N-PUMPKINZ to open Saturday

Nicole O'Day, who lost her home to a suspicious fire earlier this month, has been picking up the pieces and is ready to open up her business - A MAZE-N-PUMPKINS - on Saturday.

Pumpkins, squash and corn are set out as decorations last year by Nicole O’Day of A MAZE-N-PUMPKINZ. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)
Pumpkins, squash and corn are set out as decorations last year by Nicole O’Day of A MAZE-N-PUMPKINZ. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)

Nicole O'Day, who lost her home to a suspicious fire earlier this month, has been picking up the pieces and is ready to open up her business - A MAZE-N-PUMPKINS - on Saturday.

O'Day's home on Middle Cullen Road off Crow Wing County Road 18, two miles east of Nisswa, was destroyed by fire Sept. 2. Her business is located on her property, adjacent to her home. Right before the fire, O'Day had one of her largest shipment of pumpkins delivered and most of them - about 500-600 pumpkins - were destroyed.

The Minnesota State Fire Marshal's Office has been investigating the cause of the fire, which was determined to be suspicious. There were two attempts to start the home on fire. The first was reported in the early morning hours of Sept. 1 and the second one happened on the morning of Sept. 2. The home was not considered a total loss until the second fire.

After the fire, O'Day had hopes to open her business after Labor Day, but she was unable to make that goal. However, she is ready now.

A MAZE-N-PUMPKINS will open for the first time this season from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

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A MAZE-N-PUMPKINS offers a corn maze, a pumpkin patch, hay rides, a corn kernel sandbox for children to play in and seasonal photography opportunities in the pumpkin patch and in theme rooms located within the maze.

O'Day said this year the corn maze was created to look like a turtle in honor of the city of Nisswa.

"We are late getting started with the fire, but mama had to get herself together," O'Day said. "It is a lot to take on. I had no help besides my dad and children ... but my family and friends pulled with me and we did this.

"I need to make lots of money because no one wants to help you until the arson investigation is done."

Firefighters from Nisswa, with mutual aid from Pequot Lakes Fire Department, responded to the first fire at O'Day's home earlier this month and found the living room of the home to be fully engulfed in flames. Firefighting crews were able to contain the fire in the living room, kitchen and bedroom. When the second fire occurred, it totally destroyed the home. Authorities continue to investigate the fires.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at jennifer.stockinger@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5851. Follow me at www.twitter.com/jennewsgirl on Twitter.

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