Fire Engulfs Commerical Building Under Construction in Minnesota

Shortly after 10 AM, Tuesday, January 18, 2005, Eden Prairie, Minnesota communications dispatched police and firefighters to a reported structure fire on Hennepin Town Road near a popular food store. Dispatchers indicated they had received two reports from passersby of a commercial building under construction appearing to be on fire.

E.P. Fire Inspector-1 reported the bldg. had been using an open flame to heat construction material. Upon arrival he confirmed working fire and requested a confirmation page and automatic aid be started.

E.P. Engine-11 went into service shortly after the size-up and when they arrived, took the hydrant in front of the building at 9340 Hennepin Town Road. Five firefighters advanced two 1 3/4' hand-lines to the one story structure which was just beyond the framing stage.

The building was surrounded by pressed board siding, tar paper and a plywood roof, as workers had readied it for exterior masonry work. The interior was only a framed maze, with wide open ceilings as the electric was being installed.

Firefighters encountered heavy fire conditions on the D/A exterior sides with a stiff, southernly, 30 mile-per-hour wind pushing the fire into the building. As firefighters knocked down the heavy exterior fires, a second crew attempted to make an interior stand but their attempt proved futile, as rapid consumption of the exposed wood framing, forced them to back out and began exterior operations.

First arriving Chief Officer Edina Chief-3, a.k.a. EPFD Chief -3 (Tom Schmitz) assumed command of the rapidly deteriorating conditions. E.P.'s E-4 and L-1 arrived in succession and provided additional crews for 2 2-1/2" handlines. Edina T-90 arrived with a crew of 4, was directed to the front, A/side of the fully involved structure to set up for master stream operations with its 2000 gpm pump.

Firefighters, first had to hand jack their own LDH supply line nearly 500 ft. As master stream operations began, initially at ground level, the bulk of the fire was knocked down. Aerial operations were continued below and above the street side power lines, for just over a half an hour. Additional crews arrived on EP-Sq.-33 and Sq.-11. Two additional engines and a truck company from Bloomington, Minnesota initially stood by at scene and eventually moved to cover empty stations.

No injuries were reported despite the below 0 degree wind-chill conditions and ice. The building was almost completely gutted, with no immediate value being assigned. Investigators were working to determine an exact cause. Firefighters cleared the scene by 1 PM.