Editor's note: this article was updated on Oct. 27 to include information about the building's demolition.
The former Kmart building at 10 E. Lake St. caught fire in the early morning of Oct. 20. The Minneapolis Fire Department arrived on the scene shortly after 5 a.m. and used three aerial ladders to put out the fire. Fire crews used the aerial ladders for multiple hours to put out the fire and returned around 8 p.m. to extinguish smoldering debris.
During the fire and fire extinguishing efforts, the building’s west rear roof and wall collapsed.
On Monday, the Minneapolis Fire Department used cadaver dogs to search for people in the collapsed area of the building. According to the Office of Community Safety, there is a “high degree of confidence” that no one was trapped in the fire. As with fires of this nature, there can only be 100% certainty once the debris is removed. The day of the fire, firefighters were only able to search the non-collapsed area of the building.
“Fire crews investigated and found no breaches in the boards covering the entrances and windows of the building,” Ward 10 Councilmember Aisha Chughtai said in her Oct. 25 newsletter.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The timeline to demolish the Kmart building is now sped up considerably, according to Chughtai. The building was originally slated for demolition in spring 2024.
The City of Minneapolis owns the Kmart property and has been recently holding community engagement sessions about the redesign of the area. The day before the fire, the Minneapolis Police Department led an encampment closure across from the Kmart lot. Multiple encampments have formed and been swept in and around the Kmart lot over the last year.