St. Paul storage facility fire being investigated as arson |

St. Paul storage facility fire being investigated as arson

St. Paul storage facility fire being investigated as arson Photo: Chopper 5.

Kyle Brown
Updated: August 23, 2021 03:45 PM
Created: August 23, 2021 03:41 PM

Investigators believe a fire that burned down a St. Paul storage facility Saturday was set intentionally, St. Paul Fire Department Deputy Chief Roy Mokosso said in an update Monday.

The massive commercial fire was reported around 5:45 p.m. near the Selby Avenue bridge, just west of Hamline Avenue near Concordia University St. Paul in the Lexington-Hamline area.

The three-alarm fire required 16 fire crews, four ambulances and a total of 86 personnel to get it under control. It took crews more than 21 hours to fully extinguish the flames, and the effort involved using heavy equipment to shift piles of burning debris.

According to fire investigators, vehicles, auto parts and tires fueled the fire, which sent massive plumes of black smoke into the sky that could be seen all around the metro. Mokosso said the Department of Safety and Inspections worked with the fire department on demolition and the removal of hazardous material at the site.

The fire also dealt damage to a neighboring building belonging to Concordia University and caused the Selby Avenue bridge to be shut down over concerns of possible heat damage, and St. Paul Public Works conducted an inspection, Mokosso said.

Public Works spokeswoman Lisa Hiebert said inspectors found "no significant damage" to the bridge and it was set to be reopened Monday afternoon.

No injuries were reported.

Firefighters have responded to two previous fires at the storage complex, in 2007 and 2017.

The St. Paul Police Department is assisting the fire department with the investigation.

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