MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - A fire burned the vacant Kmart site on Lake Street in Minneapolis Friday morning, causing part of a wall to collapse.
Minneapolis Fire Department Assistant Chief Melanie Rucker confirmed the fire started in the rear of the building, with heavy fire and smoke from the rear. The fire had breached the roof of the building by the time fire crews arrived around 5 a.m. on Oct. 20, according to Rucker. Officials say there is a partial collapse in the rear of the building; fire crews were not harmed in the collapse.
Fire crews have not been able to make entry into the building as of around 8 a.m. Officials do not believe there were any people in the building as there were no breaches at the entrances of the building, but officials are still investigating.
The fire department confirmed that gas and electricity were still turned on for the building and utility companies are working to shut of them off.
Fire crews are still working on containing the fire and will do a search of the building once they are able to enter.
As of this writing, there are no injuries reported.
The City of Minneapolis in an update on Friday said city staff partially demolished unstable walls at the building, noting the city was on track to demolish the entire building in early 2024. The fire has "brought newfound urgency" to the city's effort to demolish the structure, the city said.
"In the next City Council cycle, City staff will be seeking Council approval on the demolition contract that was already bid out. Following approval, formal demolition work can begin, starting with abatement and proper disposal of hazardous materials. The work will unfold as quickly as it can over the upcoming weeks and months," the city said.
Recently, there have been public meetings on what to do with the site. The City of Minneapolis earlier this month hosted an open house to get feedback on the Nicollet Redevelopment Project, which would demolish the Kmart building that has cut Nicollet Avenue in two for more than four decades, and reconnect the popular thoroughfare with Lake Street, along with housing, retail, and public spaces.
"The New Nicollet Redevelopment Project remains on track and staff are currently gathering feedback from community members on new roadway and public space design concepts," the city said on Friday.
This is a developing story, check back for updates.
The vacant Kmart on Lake Street in Minneapolis burned the morning of Oct. 20, 2023.