Investigators: Cause of Kmart fire undetermined

A fire crew sprays a burning building
Multiple fire crews used three water cannons to try and tamp down the rising flames at the abandoned Lake Street Kmart in Minneapolis on Friday.
Aaron Nesheim for MPR News

Investigators were unable to determine the cause of a fire that destroyed the former Lake Street Kmart last week.

The city of Minneapolis said in a statement that crews have finished combing through the building’s remains but were unable to figure out how or exactly where the fire started.

Firefighters arrived before dawn on Friday to find flames and smoke at the rear of the building, which partially collapsed.

A search of the collapsed area with cadaver dogs and infrared equipment on Monday confirmed that there were no fatalities.

The building was boarded up after a temporary post office moved out in July, and Assistant Chief Melanie Rucker said last week that firefighters found no indication that trespassers had broken in.

City leaders have long sought to tear down the Kmart as part of plans to reopen Nicollet Avenue, which was closed at Lake Street in 1977 to make way for the retailer.

Demolition had been slated for March, but the city is finalizing plans to send wrecking crews to the site much sooner. The adjacent SuperValu grocery store was torn down in late 2022.

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