The Rochester Public Library was evacuated as a precaution Wednesday night after a fire broke out in the Bookmobile while it was parked in the garage at the library.

The Rochester Fire Department responded to the scene shortly after 8pm after maintenance staff at the library reported the converted RV was on fire. The fire, which was confined to the underside of the vehicle in the area where the generator is located, was extinguished in a matter of minutes. The Bookmobile was then towed to an outside location as a precaution.

There was a smoky smell inside the library, but it appears there was no damage to the building or contents. The damage to the Bookmobile was estimated at $50,000 dollars.

The cause is under investigation.


The library issued the follow statement Thursday concerning the impact the fire will have on library services.

Rochester Public Library Bookmobile Electrical Fire

The Rochester Public Library’s bookmobile experienced an electrical related fire at approximately 7:45PM last evening.

It had returned from its scheduled run to Eyota and had been parked in the garage and connected to the internal power source. A maintenance employee smelled smoke, checked, noticed flames and the Fire Department was notified. The building was evacuated, the fire controlled and people re-admitted after the Fire Department declared it was safe.

The bookmobile was taken to the Public Works garage where it was been examined by insurance adjusters and clearance has been given for repairs to begin. At this time there are issues that will need to be addressed. Parts will need to be ordered and a cost estimate will not be available until a reliable damage estimate is completed.

At this time: RESERVES
All reserves that are available for bookmobile patrons are now in the building.  They will be available for pick-up at the main library while the bookmobile is out of service.
We do recognize that most of our bookmobile patrons are not able to come to the main library.  We will hold their reserves for them until we are back on the road.
Items that are on the actual bookmobile are currently not available to pull for reserves at this time.  As we continue with the repair process, this may change if staff is able to get to the materials on the vehicle.

All items that are checked out to bookmobile customers have been renewed.
We will continue to renew them until the bookmobile is back on the road.  The March 12th date that is listed on our web-page is still just an estimated date at this point.  We will continue to renew items as needed. The library’s web-page will be updated as more information is available.

Those that want to return their bookmobile material to the main library are welcome to do so.  However, they will not be fined if they can't.