During the Water Tribe Civil War in 171 AG, Southern Water Tribe citizens organized a peace march in support of Southern independence toward the cultural center, with a counter-protest organized by Northerners in support of Chief Unalaq. Despite heavy police presence, two members of the Agni Kai Triad orchestrated a bombing of the center at the climax of the march, successfully detonating several bombs and lighting the center ablaze. Mako, on duty as a police officer, attempted to capture the perpetrators, albeit without success, only retrieving the detonating device.
Korra was present the moment the building caught fire and immediately tried to subdue the flames with water from the basin at the foot of Sokka's statue, located on the square in front of the building. Her efforts were swiftly joined by the arriving fire department.