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Fire Department Investigating Cause Of Downtown Fire In Vacant Building

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Ryan Loyd

Arson investigators are looking into a two-alarm fire that engulfed a vacant building downtown last night. More than 100 firefighters worked to put out the flames near a hotel at Third and Broadway.

Firefighters battled stubborn flames for hours with gallons of water flowing onto the street below making it look more like the Riverwalk.

"We arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the second floor," said District Fire Chief Keith Crusius, who said people at the nearby Travelers Hotel self-evacuated.

By the time firefighters arrived, the vacant building at Third and Broadway was too dangerous to go inside so they had to fight it on top and drench the building with as much water as they could.

"The good news is that we were able to keep the exposures safe and just allow the main structure to burn out," Crusius said, but the problem is that takes a while to do that.

When the fire was tamed, it gave many fatigued firefighters a chance to rest and watch. Kinsley, who declined to give a last name, was staying down the road and joined the growing list of onlookers.

"I used to be a first responder/paramedic so for me this is, you know, old hat I guess. This is what I used to have to respond to all the time," Kinsley said.

Investigators will now have to figure out how the fire started and if it was accidental.