Officials Sifting Through Rubble to Find Cause of Press Bar Fire
ST. CLOUD -- The landscape of downtown St. Cloud has been forever changed following the massive fire that reduced the Press Bar to rubble.
City and fire officials held a news conference Tuesday morning at the River's Edge Convention Center.
St. Cloud Fire Chief Dean Wrobbel says this was one of the more challenging fires he's ever seen.
In these old buildings, especially for the time that it started and had a head start on us, we could not get down to the fire. We were in the building for about 45 minutes trying to find the seed of the fire, we could hear it in the walls and we just could not get to it.
Wrobbel confirmed the fire started in the basement and spread throughout the walls of the building.
The State Fire Marshal's Office is on scene conducting their investigation. St. Cloud Fire Marshal Mike Post says they will continue to spend a large part of the day going through the rubble.
We take a rectangular shape of the basement and work in quadrants. We will continue to go in today and look at material loss, fire patterns, which direction the fire was traveling. All those things are still there, it's just going to take some time to discover them.
Post says depending on what they find today, the investigation into the cause of the fire could take a few days to several weeks to determine.
He adds Cowboy Jack's did not suffer any fire damage, but the business did suffer smoke and water damage. The Red Carpet also suffered some water damage to the basement.
City officials say 5th Avenue South from 1st Street South to 100 feet north of St. Germain Street West will remain closed today, with hopes of reopening by the end of the week.
Fire crews were called to the Press Bar around 2:40 a.m. Monday and by the afternoon the whole building had been leveled.
The Press Bar was one of the most historic bars in St. Cloud dating back to 1942.