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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The building that houses most of the University of Minnesota-Rochester classrooms in downtown Rochester has been closed until further notice because of fires that broke out this morning in a chimney exhaust system.

The Rochester Fire Department says firefighters responded to the former Galleria Mall at 111 South Broadway shortly after 7:40 AM after receiving a general fire alarm from the facility. The response was upgraded to a full structure fire when firefighters spotted black smoke coming from the roof of the Galleria at University Square. Upon arrival, they found smoky conditions and sprinkler activations throughout the building, where an evacuation was already in progress.

Rochester Fire Department photo
Rochester Fire Department photo
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It was discovered that sprinklers had been activated in two restaurants and the fire was located in the chimney exhaust system shared by Chester's and another restaurant. The firefighters used extinguishers, pressurized water cans, and dry chemical chimney bombs dropped from the roof to extinguish the majority of the flames. The Fire Department reported that it took several hours to locate and deal with the remaining hotspots, ventilate smoke, and assist with the initial water cleanup work.

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An assessment of the damage has yet to be completed and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. No injuries were reported.

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