National ATF team joins investigation into fire at unfinished hotel in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota

Federal authorities have joined the investigation into Tuesday’s fire at a five-story hotel that was under construction in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. 

The St. Paul Fire Department responded to a fire at the construction site near the intersection of West 7th Street and Kellogg Boulevard across the street from the Xcel Energy Center. When crews first arrived, they saw flames inside the hotel, but they grew so fast the crews could only attack the fire from the outside. 

The $6.8 million Seven Corners Gateway project broke ground in November. The project consists of two buildings, a Courtyard by Marriot hotel and a six-story apartment building, both of which are being built on a former surface parking lot.

St. Paul fire officials said the courtyard between the two buildings served as a fire break, so the apartment building sustained minimal damage. 

The unfinished hotel burned partly to the ground. 

A skeleton of a building being built is all that remains after a pre-dawn fire in St Paul across from the Xcel Energy Center. (Greg Kellogg/FOX 9 / FOX 9)

Due to the size of the building, the amount of fire damage and the number of investigative leads, the St. Paul Fire Department and the local office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives requested the assistance of ATF’s National Response Team. 

Members of the National Response Team on the scene Thursday to begin working with state and local officials to investigate the fire. 

“The extra personnel will help move this investigation along more quickly,” Special Agent in Charge Terry Henderson of the St. Paul Division said in a statement. “Our goal here is to assist with this fire investigation, alongside the St. Paul Fire Department, St. Paul Police Department and the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division, bringing the investigation to a successful conclusion.”