Building damaged by overnight fire in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood to be demolished
St. Paul fire officials say a building that was damaged during an overnight fire in the city’s Midway neighborhood will be demolished on Wednesday afternoon due to structural safety concerns.
Crews were sent to the area of University Avenue West and Milton Street just before 3 a.m. after a woman who lived in a second-floor apartment called saying her unit was on fire.
According to Deputy St. Paul Fire Chief Roy Mokosso, she evacuated her apartment from a window, made her way onto a roof and got to safety after a neighbor helped her down with a ground ladder. Officials say she was not hurt, and add she is believed to have been the only occupant inside the building at the time of the fire.
Although crews were inside at one point, conditions changed and caused all firefighters to be called outside.
“We risk a lot to save a lot,” Mokosso said before noting that the deteriorating conditions required the department to pull back.
During that transition, Mokosso says one firefighter in the basement had trouble getting out and called a mayday. Two other firefighters were also initially unaccounted for but it was later determined that they were helping the firefighter who was having trouble. All three were able to get out and are OK.
“I think we’re very fortunate again that no firefighters were injured during this. The fact that a mayday was called is significant,” Mokosso added, crediting the department’s training.
The building is described as a multi-use structure with commercial space on the bottom and residential units upstairs.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation but officials believe it started in the basement.