ROSEMOUNT — Fire destroyed a multi-tenant commercial building that housed a woodworking shop, a lawn and snow removal business and an automotive shop.
Rosemount Fire Department battled the flames in freezing temperatures for five and a half hours Feb. 21 off South Robert Trail in the old Rick's Auto Repair property. Each business leased a stall space.
Mutual aid was given by Farmington, Apple Valley and Hastings fire departments.
Rosemount Fire Chief Rick Schroeder said his pager went off at 2:58 p.m. with a report of a fire in the multi-use commercial building off South Robert Trail and Highway 3. The call came from a passerby. who saw fire off this heavily traveled, commuter highway.
No one was injured and no one was on site at the time of the fire, Schroeder said. The cause of the fire is under investigation, although the origin is believed to be the building's west side. Bathrooms and some electrical and mechanical equipment were located on the southwest corner of the building, along with an electric water heater.
Rick Chase, the Rosemount fire marshal, spent a half day on site doing initial investigations.
Minnesota State Patrol shut down Highway 3 for five and a half hours and Dakota County Sheriff's Office assisted with the scene and traffic control.
The challenges included freezing cold temperatures and ice buildup, Schroeder reported. Firefighters were not injured and did not suffer from any weather-related injuries.
Scott Soika lost his woodworking and cabinetry shop, tools and his business SMC Construction, an interior and exterior remodeling company. He received a call from a neighbor and arrived on scene around 3 p.m.
"The firefighters did a great job and they did everything they could do," Soika said.
"We are doing all right, but we are kind of numb I guess because it is one of those things that will take a while," said Soika.
As a general contractor, Soika said he can still build cabinets, decks and additions and basements, although many of his tools were destroyed or melted.
"It could have been worse if it was my house," he added.
His wife, Pam Soika, said multiple insurance companies are busy investigating the fire case.
"I had my real estate office in the front part, and we had put in new flooring, new walls and painted and made it completely different — we put in new bathrooms and remodeled and did the whole thing," she added.
Scott Soika said, "I am not sure what I am going to do and do not know if I am going to rebuild."