Store, apartments condemned after SUV crashes into historic St. Paul building

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A St. Paul store and the two apartments inside a historic building are now condemned after an SUV crashed into the building on Friday morning, according to the St. Paul Fire Department.

Shortly after 11 a.m., an SUV crashed into Scout, an apparel store located at the intersection of West 7th Street and Leech Street, and struck some support columns, according to Deputy Chief Roy Mokosso, spokesperson for the St. Paul Fire Department. No one was injured in the crash, though there was at least one employee in the store at the time.

"I was taking out the trash to our dumpster literally across the street, heard the crash, no screeching of tires or anything it just sounded like an earthquake-like boom, and looked over and saw the car in the front of the building," Brian Ingram said.

And when a car crashes through one of St. Paul’s historic buildings, news travels fast.

"I was quite concerned about it, it’s one of our most interesting and historic structures in our neighborhood here," said historian Jim Sazevich.

Fire crews evacuated the apartments directly above the store while they assess the structural integrity of the building. Engineers and officials inspected the three-story building on West 7th Street, which at one point after the crash was believed to be in danger of collapsing. 

Crews worked to stabilize the basement and the first floor of the building before removing the SUV. The work was slow and steady, but necessary to protect the building.

"You don’t want to lose a landmark like this because you aren’t willing to take a few minutes to do it right," said building manager Richard Chorlton.

The building is badly damaged but still standing after 130 years.

In the meantime, the store will be boarded up and the sidewalk will remain for safety reasons. 

The crash remains under investigation.