Firefighters in Cedar Rapids say a fire at a large, vacant warehouse could continue to smolder for days. They first arrived on the scene in the 1600 block of 3rd Street Southeast just after six o’clock this morning. Large bales of cardboard were burning inside the brick structure, but firefighters were ordered out of the building.
Cedar Rapids Fire Department spokesman Greg Buelow says the building was vacated and deemed "structurally unsound" after last summer’s floods. "Really, there’s no point of putting a firefighter inside there to try and extinguish a fire from the interior when it’s been deemed structurally unsound by a structural engineer," Buelow said.
The fire spread to the second and third floors of the warehouse. For now, firefighters are attacking the blaze from the outside – which will make it difficult to fully extinguish anytime soon. Buelow says a demolition crew might be called in to take down one of the structure’s walls. "That way we can see what we’re doing and get water on what’s still burning," Buelow said.
No injuries have been reported and no residents have been evacuated. "At this point, there’s no danger to any of the surrounding area," Buelow said. "The fire is confined, but it’s stubborn. Everybody would just like for it to be out at this point." An exact cause for the fire has not been determined, but Buelow says it is considered suspicious because the building was vacant and did not have electricity.
The property has not been occupied since last summer’s flood, but was most recently used by Linn Star Transfer as a distribution center for appliances.