Three vehicles caught fire at about noon Tuesday in the upper level of the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, Patient/Visitor parking ramp. No injuries were reported.
The ramp on Delaware Street Southeast was closed for about an hour due to copious amounts of smoke. Some people waited outside for about a half-hour in subzero temperatures.
The fire appeared to have started in the engine of a car parked on the ramp’s sixth floor, according to a Minneapolis Fire Department press release. The fire then spread to a van and another car on the left and melted the side of a car to its right. Four cars were damaged.
The Minneapolis Fire Department and University police responded to the fire and had it under control within a half-hour. No one was allowed inside the building while responders brought in fire hoses and other equipment.
The effort was hampered by “the cold and heavy smoke conditions,” according to the Fire Department press release.
The water that was used to fight the fire froze on the ground inside the ramp as well as on the street outside. As fire officials left the building, University Parking and Transportation Services employees salted the road and directed traffic out of the ramp. Traffic was backed up at the intersection of Delaware and Harvard streets southeast.
Doris Hock, who was accompanying a friend to a doctor’s appointment at Fairview, parked on the ramp’s sixth floor at the corner opposite the fire.
“Luckily, we were on the other side of the floor,” she said. “... There was just so much black smoke.”