Cause undetermined in Superior warehouse fire
Following an investigation into the cause of Jan. 6 fire that destroyed two historical warehouses, what started the blaze remains unknown
SUPERIOR — The cause of the fire that destroyed two historic warehouses in North End remains undetermined following an investigation, said Superior Fire Chief Scott Gordon.
The early-morning fire Jan. 6 destroyed the Sivertson Fisheries warehouse, 1507 N. First St., and spread to the Bayside Warehouse, historically known as Twohy Mercantile, next door at 1515 N. First St.
Based on fire investigator interviews with witnesses, review of security camera footage, and on-scene reports of the fire engine personnel, the fire appears to have originated in the northern half of the first floor of the former Sivertson Building, according to a news release issued by Battalion Chief Camron Vollbrecht. Intense radiant heat from the fire in the Sivertson Building spread the fire to the adjacent building.
Through the investigation, fire investigators were unable to determine the circumstances that caused the fire to start, according to a news release issued on Wednesday, March 9.
The cause of the fire will remain undetermined and the investigation is considered closed unless additional evidence or information becomes available, the fire department reported.
The Sivertson warehouse was a total loss while walls to the second story of the Bayside Warehouse, owned by Eric Ringsred, remain standing.
Miles Ringsred, the owner’s son, said after the fire the only thing they were required to do was knock down portions of the building above the second story windows. After the fire, he said they contacted Jepsen Inc., a nationally known structural services company in the Twin Cities.
Ringsred said it could be possible to build a building within the remaining facade and use the existing facade for aesthetic purposes.
However, he said shoring up the building after the floors and joists burned would cost about $185,000 and is beyond their means as they continue to work with insurance.
“We want to get it stabilized with the facade retention and we’re not going to know too much more until the spring and things start thawing what the stability of everything is,” Ringsred said. “Right now, things seem quite stable … so it’s kind of a wait and see.”
He said the freeze and thaw cycle could wreak havoc on the remaining structure.
Built in 1894, the Romanesque Revival warehouse was home two Twohy Mercantile, the largest grocery wholesaler in Superior.