St. Paul Crews Extinguish Fire That Burned Four Buildings

Kristi Belcamino

Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.


Aug. 22—A three-alarm blaze that broke out Saturday afternoon just west of Selby and Hamline avenues burned through the night and into Sunday before it was extinguished, officials say.

Nobody was injured in the fire, which started about 6:30 p.m. and sent massive plumes of black smoke throughout the area, but it consumed four buildings in the 1400 block of Dayton Avenue, according to St. Paul Fire Chief Butch Inks.

More than 50 firefighters worked through the night to extinguish the blaze, which was just behind the Concordia University baseball field, and successfully saved a fifth building that belonged to the college.

Crews finally wrapped up their efforts early Sunday afternoon, Inks said.

The main fire itself was difficult to put out because at least one of the buildings contained large amounts of stacked tires. Tires burn hot, and when they were stacked they way they were in this fire, they had to be moved to extinguish smaller fires underneath, he said.

While no fire is ideal, fires involving tires are some of the most “miserable” to fight since they “burn really hot” and “burn long,” Inks said.

St. Paul resident Marie Rickmyer said she witnessed the fire in its early stages from about 50 feet away, across the street behind the former Crosstown Auto building on Marshall Avenue.

As she watched, one fire engine was fighting the blaze, but the fire quickly spread to two nearby buildings, and she said the flames grew so hot she could feel them so she left.

The buildings that were on fire appeared to be older buildings with window towers on top, she said. As the fire spread through the buildings, she could hear glass exploding.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

@FrederickMelo WOW! Was in my garage two blocks away and heard multiple explosions before seeing smoke and launching my drone. Enjoy!

— Bob Dobalina (@guavadawgdiesel) August 21, 2021


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