As the end of the year appoaches, we recap the most popular stories of 2012 and the highlights St. Michael Patch shared with the community. The following article was posted Jan. 7, 2012.
Firefighters were called to the scene of a huge blaze at the former St. Michael lumberyard location, near the intersection of Highway 241 with St. Michael Parkway in the heart of the city's new one-way pair.
The blaze started early Saturday morning. Witnesses were plenty, as local bars and restaurants had neared closing time for the night when the blaze broke out.
St. Michael Patch is working to contact local authorities, looking for a cause for last night's fire, and if any nearby structures were damaged by the heat or flames.
Most of the buildings are vacant in and around the old lumberyard, as the city targeted them for redevelopment during the downtown renovation project, which started back in 2008. Shingobee Development has an option on the properties on the block.
The award-winning one-way pair was opened and dedicated in 2009.
UPDATE - 9:08 a.m., Monday, Jan. 9 Fire investigators are still working to determine the cause of Saturday morning's fire.
According to responders on the scene, the site did have electrical hookup and there was some old wiring in both buildings. But it's not known, specifically, what set off the fire, which sent flames soaring about three stories high into the air at times.
UPDATE - 10:45 a.m. According to information from the St. Michael Fire Department, the initial emergency call was relayed from Wright County Dispatch at around 1:10 a.m. Saturday.
Crews responded and immediately called for mutual aid from Albertville Fire Department. The structure at Simonson's was fully engulfed in flames upon arrival.
St. Michael Fire worked with Wright County deputies to shutdown westbound Highway 241 at the split (near Dairy Queen) and detoured eastbound traffic as well.
Despite higher winds and the heat of the fire, damage was contained to the lumberyard.
Fire crews left the scene at 4 a.m., but will return to patrol "hot spots."