The Duluth Fire Department remains on scene of a fire at the Pastoret Terrace, the downtown Duluth building that housed the former Kozy Bar and Apartments. The fire department is still working to gain access to the building to put out any hot spots and to ensure there are no life safety issues inside.
Flames were seen coming through the roof as of 10:30 a.m. City spokesperson Kate Van Daele said in a statement that the fire was reported at about 9:50 a.m., and when firefighters arrived, the building had smoke coming from the second floor and the roof.
Around 11:30 a.m., the majority of the smoke was coming from windows on the ground floor. Firefighters worked to pull off plywood from the front windows while others continued an aerial approach from ladder apparatuses.
The public was encouraged to stay away from the area as the firefighters continued to work into the afternoon. The streets and sidewalks surrounding the building became icy due to the water used by the firefighters to douse the fire.
The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Duluth Fire Marshal's Office. Further updates on the investigation are expected on Monday.
The building at First Street and Second Avenue East, along with the adjacent Paul Robeson Ballroom, have been condemned for human habitation since a 2010 fire.
Dr. Eric Ringsred, the former owner of the buildings, and a group of preservationists called Respect Starts Here, have been fighting to save the historic structures from the wrecking ball.
The buildings were scheduled for demolition in early 2020 after a ruling from 6th Judicial District Judge Eric Hylden in October 2019 allowed Duluth Economic Development Authority to tear down the structure. But in August, the Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned the ruling, remanding the case back to the lower court for reconsideration and advising DEDA, the building's current owner, to take steps to protect the historic building from further damage.
On Wednesday, DEDA authorized city staff to spend up to $135,000 to button up the property for winter.
Numerous fires have broken out at the Kozy since 2010.
This is the second fire in the building this year. In April, a small fire that burned through a boarded-up door frame, causing $100 in damage, was determined to be caused by arson.
This story was updated multiple times, most recently at 3:42 p.m. Nov. 1 with additional information from the city of Duluth. It was originally posted at 10:18 a.m. Nov. 1.