Fire guts 1903 Fort Snelling building during renovation project

Firefighters battled a large fire at Fort Snelling on Thursday afternoon, the flames visible from nearby freeways and sending plumes of smoke into the air visible for miles.

The former gymnasium and service club were part of an extensive renovation project on the largely vacant Upper Post of the Fort Snelling military campus, which is not part of the adjacent Historic Fort Snelling site operated by the Minnesota Historical Society.

According to KSTP-TV, a few Minneapolis firefighters suffered minor injuries from falling debris while battling the blaze, which started around 3 p.m. and was fanned by gusty winds.

Flames envelop part of a roof as Minneapolis firefighters work to put out a fire at Building 53 at the Upper Post of Fort Snelling on Thursday, June 2, 2022. The former gymnasium and service club was built in 1903 and was being renovated for use as housing. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

The structure that caught fire, identified as Building 53, was constructed in 1903 and was being renovated along with other long-derelict structures on the Upper Post for use as low-income housing for military veterans.

The building was not occupied at the time of the fire, the cause of which remains under investigation.

From atop a fire truck, Minneapolis firefighters watch as water from a ladder truck knocks open a window at Building 53 at the Upper Post of Fort Snelling on Thursday, June 2, 2022. The former gymnasium and service club was built in 1903 and was being renovated for use as housing. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)
From atop a fire truck, Minneapolis firefighters watch as water from a ladder truck knocks open a window at Building 53 at the Upper Post of Fort Snelling on Thursday, June 2, 2022. The former gymnasium and service club was built in 1903 and was being renovated for use as housing. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

 

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