Fire in the Brody Building

Fire at 1201 and 1203 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN, February 20, 2008

A fire broke out in a building in downtown Minneapolis Wednesday, destroying a popular downtown bar and the historic building it was in.

Firefighters were called to a commercial building near 12th and Washington Avenue South around 10:45 a.m. The building is behind Maxwell's Bar.

The fire started on the first floor and quickly spread through the building to the roof of the building.

Firefighters had to fight the fire from the outside because the roof started to collapse.

Authorities evacuated a business adjacent to the building on fire. About an hour after the fire started, the fire spread to the roof of the building that houses Maxwell's Bar.

A ladder was brought in for firefighters to try to help fight the fire from the roof of Maxwell's Bar, but the bar was destroyed.

Metro Transit buses were brought in to help keep civilians and firefighters warm. No injuries have been reported.

With the wind chill, it was 15 below when firefighters arrived at a fast moving fire at Maxwell's in Downtown Minneapolis Wednesday morning. "Are you comfortable?" Deputy Chief Alex Jackson asked reporters. "It's absolutely miserable, because first of all it's flat out cold," he added. "When it gets this cold, I guess what it does, it makes your gear not work right," Captain Staffan Swanson said.

Firefighters believe the fast-moving fire started in the third floor of the 3 story building just north of the Metrodome. There are a dozen apartments above Maxwell's bar and restaurant. When crews first arrived, they entered the building but were soon forced out after part of the roof collapsed.

"We're concerned about the collapse because it's got that billboard on top," Jackson said. The massive billboard never fell, but the rest of the building was basically gutted.

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