Sunday, January 17, 2010, 0400: Three towering aerial ladders surrounded the building like the cranes of a giant erector set. Smoke and flame gushed out from the where the roof of the building used to be – before it had collapsed into the second...

Crews are still picking up as I write this update, and several units will likely be on scene most of the day to ensure that no fire rekindles in the building. Our thoughts and sympathy goes out to the families who lived in the building, and the property owners and their loss.
My gratitude goes out to the members of the Water, Public Works, and Police Departments, who responded and assisted at the scene. Also to Betty, the wonderful manager of the Holiday gas station next door who provided a warm building, restroom facilities, and refreshments to our fire crews. Betty literally gave the shoes off her feet to a bare-footed fire victim! The Salvation Army cantina also arrived to provide food and beverages to firefighters and responders – they have ALWAYS been a most cherished partner in these disasters! Finally my compliments to the command staff and fire crews on scene this morning – you do INCREDIBLE work to save lives in Saint Paul, and this morning was another great example! THANK YOU!