About $1 million in damage resulted from a Saturday morning fire at at 118 E. First St. in Downtown Duluth.
Duluth Firefighters responded to the report of smoke at the structure, which is slightly west of Pastorate Terrace on the other side of First Street. They reported the first level all clear and were then assigned to begin searching for a stairwell to the upper floors, the department said in a news release.
Number 1 Engine in Downtown began extinguishing the flames on the street level of the building. Number 1 Tower Truck was assigned to access the roof to cut holes in an attempt to ventilate the heat from the building so other units could begin a fire attack on the third level. One company was assigned to assess damage to the adjacent building, Wabasha Books, located to the west of the burning building. No fire was reported in that structure.
Much of the roof eventually collapsed due to advanced fire conditions and limitations to access the spaces necessary to extinguish the flames.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation. The building's owner is Kevin Ruhnke of Hermantown, accounting to St. Louis County property records.
Fire Companies from Headquarters, UMD, Lakeside and West Duluth responded to the scene. Mayo Clinic Ambulance, the Duluth Police Department, Duluth Public Works, Duluth Comfort Systems and Minnesota Power provided support as needed during the incident.