Posted at: 01/24/2013 9:33 PM
Updated at: 01/25/2013 2:45 AM
By: Maarja Anderson
A fire Thursday morning in downtown Hibbing has damaged a long-time restaurant and destroyed an apartment building, displacing 11 people.
Hibbing Fire Department, along with 6 other local fire agencies, responded to the structure fire at 513 Howard Street around 10 a.m. Thursday. They fought the fire for two hours, evacuating the entire block of businesses. The firefighters were also fighting nearly 20 below temperatures.
"We had numerous issues because of the cold," said Hibbing Fire Marshal, Bryan Fagerstrom. "Between trying to keep the lines open, the trucks from freezing up and now we are working closely with Hibbing Public Utilities to make sure we can maintain heat in the building."
The structure is a three-story building with Sportsmen's Bar and Restaurant on the ground floor and apartments on the second and third floors. Fire Marshal Fagerstrom says it appears the fire started on the second floor apartments where there is the most significant damage.
"There's significant damage. Some of my initial estimates were in the ballpark of probably $500,000, but that might be a little slightly less now," said Fire Marshal Fagerstrom.
Of the 14 apartment units, 11 were rented out to tenants. Those 11 people have been placed in a hotel by the Hibbing Salvation Army and Red Cross. Two individuals were taken to an area hospital for smoke inhalation, but have since been released.
Sportsmen's is described as an icon of downtown Hibbing by neighbor and owner of Zimmy's Restaurant, Linda Stroback.
"They are an institution here on main street in Hibbing, so I'm hoping they can do what they did down at Sammy's when they had a fire, which is to put things back together again," said Stroback.
Sportsmen's Bar, which is directly below the apartments has sustained severe water damage, while the restaurant half has minor smoke damage.
To help those displaced by this fire or dealing with damages, money can be donated to the Red Cross, donations can be dropped off at the Hibbing Salvation Army, and Brick Yard Sports Bar and Grille is also taking donated items starting at 11 a.m. Friday.