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Fire Destroys Business Near Downtown Bloomington

UPDATED 10:10 a.m. | Bloomington Fire officials said fire destroyed an auto repair shop Thursday morning and tied up downtown traffic for several hours.

Bloomington Fire Department spokesperson Eric Davison said crews were called to Diesel Dick’s at 508 N. Madison St. shortly before 7 a.m. He said a passerby saw the blaze and called authorities.

Smoke could be seen billowing from the scene throughout downtown.

Davison said the fire department called in off-duty firefighters and received mutual aid from Normal and Bloomington Township fire departments.

Police closed portions of Madison and Market streets during the morning commute as crews worked to contain the blaze.

Davison said crews were mostly putting out hot spots by 9 a.m. He said crews were largely able to prevent the fire to spread to a neighboring strip mall where several businesses are located.

“A little bit (of smoke damage) on the outside and the same with that apartment building in the back," he said. “It was actually collapsed one of the walls in the back, one of the walls of Diesel Dick’s in the back, and caused some damage on the outside of the house from the wall collapsing.”

Davison said residents from the nearby apartment were temporarily evacuated and later allowed to return once the building was deemed safe. He said the fire department is working with the American Red Cross to find temporary housing for them.

Davison said the cold and snowy weather can pose additional challenges, but fire crews have been able to withstand the elements.

“Anytime to get high heat or really cold weather it adds to firefighter fatigue, so it’s exhausting, you are shaking but it’s keeping you warm,” he said. “Then we are using a lot of water so that starts to freeze and it becomes a problem, but so far it hasn’t caused any real problems.”

Davison said it appears no one was in the business when the fire started, and the cause is under investigation. No injuries were reported. 

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