MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Investigators have yet to find what sparked a fire that damaged five historic buildings in north Minneapolis.

Thick smoke and flames filled businesses and apartments along the 900 block of West Broadway Wednesday morning.

READ MORE: Remains Of Missing Woman Found Near Hinckley

Now that the smoke has cleared, many are wondering: What’s next? Will the block be safe or have to be demolished?

For business owners, it’s something they hope to learn more about in the days to come.

On Thursday, clean up began for those connected to the area.

The buildings affected were built between 1893 and 1910, and they are some of the oldest structures on the north side.

“We want to stay, it’s been a good neighborhood for us,” said business owner Brian Patridge.

He and other business owners are trying to keep things boarded up until they know exactly if the buildings can be saved or will have to be torn down.

Business owners are slated to meet with city officials on Friday.

“I think the fire marshal is going to be there, some of the city officials probably be there, so we will get a chance to sit down and ask questions,” said Flora Westbrooks, another business owner.

READ MORE: A Man Suffers Life Threatening Injuries After Crash In Douglas County

Her shop has been on the block for 29 years, and she has questions.

“Are people going to feel safe coming back?” she said. “Will this really have a big impact on my business?”

Anthony Newby, of the group Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, says they have raised funds to help those displaced.

“First thing first: We want to make sure people are safe and people have what they need in real time,” he said.

Once their needs are met, the focus can then turn to what will happen on West Broadway Avenue.

“This is some of the most valuable property in the city, it’s close to downtown, it’s in the heart of North Minneapolis,”
Newby said. “Our hope is that the community has some real input into what happens here, and it’s not simply a case of whoever has the biggest check book has a crack at it.”

Neighborhoods Organizing for Change has raised $15,000 of the $20,000 needed to help those who now have nothing.

Officials are keeping people out of the area until it’s decided if the block can be saved.

MORE NEWS: Colorado Man Dies In Becker County Crash

Business owners say they expect to know what’s next within a week.

Reg Chapman