Fire chief: Demolition required to completely extinguish St. Cloud bar fire

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St. Cloud firefighters are continuing to battle an early-morning fire downtown.

The city's battalion fire chief, Jerry Raymond, confirmed with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that crews have been battling a fire at the Press Bar and Parlor since about 2:30 a.m.

Raymond said firefighters were pulled from inside the building and are now only able to battle the flames from the outside.

Additionally, demolition of the bar is required, Raymond said, in order to completely extinguish the fire. The building is considered to be a total loss.

Firefighters said they believe the fire started in the building's basement.

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"It's devastating for all of us, a lot of good people come to it, regulars that come in, so it's s really hard to watch it," Said Isabelle Reischl, a Press Bar employee. 

Ashley Hill, another bar worker said "You meet so many new faces and you connect with people and  we were like a family there."

So far, the fire has not spread to neighboring buildings and there were no initial reports of injuries.

 Press Bar & Parlor posted a message thanking first responders on its Facebook page late Monday morning.

"We would like to thank our St. Cloud Fire Department, St. Cloud Police department and all other first responders who assisted with the devastating fire that broke out at The Press Bar early this morning," the post said. "We are thankful that no one was in the building at the time of the fire. We’ve gained many great employees, friends and memories there over the years. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers."

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St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis issued the following statement on the fire:

"Our gratitude goes out to the dedicated firefighters who fought the fire and prevented further damage to other nearby buildings in the heart of our downtown. The tragic loss of an iconic building in our historic downtown is sad to see. In addition to our brave firefighters – our thoughts and prayers are with the businesses and employees [affected] by this tragic fire today."

Watch video of the fire, courtesy of Jennifer Lewerenz, via the video player below:

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Stay with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS and for the latest on this developing news.