Update: Fire destroys portion of South Fargo strip mall
FARGO, N.D. — A multi-business plaza going up in flames in South Fargo.
“At 1:20, we had a report of a fire here at 3242 20th Street South. When crews did arrive to find smoke showing and fire in the attic of the building. They struck a second alarm to bring in additional crews and as you see here, there’s an extensive fire involved of the attic, so they were working to get that stopped. We did bring in a third alarm, which brought in all of our on-coming shifts. The off-duty crews,” Fargo Fire Marshal Ryan Erickson said.
Portions of Southpointe Business Park going up in flames. Fire tore through both Bodyworks Physical Therapy and GiGi’s Playhouse.
Fire Marshal Erickson says, “We did confirm that both of those units were vacated prior to our arrival.”
Erickson says there were no injuries. He says he is not sure where the fire first started.
“All of the involvement was definitely in the south end. I don’t know which unit it was in. It was called in by Bodyworks,” Erickson said.
Gigi’s playhouse Executive Director Heather Lorenzen says she is thankful she was able to escape safely.
“I was the only person in the building, I did see smoke start coming through the ceiling and all of our neighbors were really great as we were all notified and came outside,” Gigi’s Playhouse Executive Director Heather Lorenzen said.
Lorenzen says she is saddened by the destruction of her non-profit.
“I was heartbroken. These things happen and are out of our control sometimes and at the end of the day, I’m just so thankful that everyone, all of our neighbors, all of our businesses, everyone got out safely, and all of our people safe. Everything can be replaced,” Lorenzen said.
Gigi’s Playhouse is North Dakota’s first Down syndrome Achievement Center. Lorenzen says this incident will not stop the work they do for the community.
Lorenzen says, “We’re going to rebuild. That’s what our community is here for us. We’re going to be really optimistic. Our team is already working to really help be there for our community.”
One firefighter had minor injuries.
The Fargo Fire Department says half of the building will need to be completely rebuilt.
A cause is still under investigation.