MINNETONKA, Minn. (WCCO) – A four alarm fire at Macy’s at Ridgedale Mall Tuesday forced the evacuation and closing of part of the Minnetonka store.
Fire crews responded to the call at about 10:45 a.m. Store representatives said that the fire broke out on the roof of the construction site next to the Macy’s women’s store, which was evacuated.
The fire was under control within two hours, but frigid conditions made it hard to fight.
Macy’s is one of the largest department stores at Ridgedale Mall, which is located off Interstate 394.
Several crews were called in to battle the flames. The fire spread quickly between the walls of the construction area, making it tough for firefighters to get at hot spots. Wintry temperatures made the battle all the more difficult.
“Especially (for) the ones working on the roof,” said Kevin Fox, the Minnetonka deputy fire chief. “It’s windy up there, and it’s cold, and they are wet, so we are trying to get them rotated out as quickly as possible.”
A Metro Transit bus was brought in as a temporary heating station for firefighters between shifts.
By the afternoon, Fox said the scene had been cleared and that the fire was likely caused by welding from construction work.
Macy’s employees were at work and the store was open when the fire broke out.
“I smelled the smoke and immediately came back outside,” said Carmen Huesman, a Macy’s employee.
Many shoppers were unsure what was going on.
“It was amazing that people were still walking into the store,” Huesman said. “Even one lady showed her kid, ‘Oh, see, they are still treating the fire,’ and I looked at her and I go, ‘You are still going to go in?’ ‘Well, why not?’”
Moments later Macy’s and its Lakeshore Grill were evacuated and closed. The rest of the mall remained open, but some shoppers found their pre Black Friday plans thrown off.
“I was trying to Christmas shop,” said shopper Rachel Fricke. “So it kind of put a damper [on things], but I guess JC Penney got my money.”
The fire department moved merchandise so it wouldn’t be damaged. However, store representatives say some clothes sustained smoke damage.
Jacque Larson, the communications manager for the City of Minnetonka, said the fire was in the northwest corner of the Macy’s construction site. That area is under construction to make room for Macy’s home and men’s store, which is being moved from the other side of the mall.
A spokesperson for Macy’s said that no one has been injured in the incident and that there will be no interruptions in the Black Friday or pre-Black Friday shopping this week.