HIBBING — Firefighters from several agencies are battling a fire in downtown Hibbing above the Sportsmen’s restaurant. Both Sportsmen’s and Zimmy’s restaurants have been evacuated.
Smoke could be seen billowing out of the windows of apartment buildings above the bar behind the Roger Saccoman Architecture office from the fire that started late Thursday morning.
Sportsmen’s workers stayed warm in their cars in the parking lot behind the bar and restaurant watching the fire fighting operations late in the morning as fire crews punched holes in the building’s roof.
It’s believed everyone made it out of the building safely, but a few individuals may have been transported to University Medical Center-Mesabi to be checked out for smoke inhalation.
Rescuers from Chisholm Ambulance were telling those evacuated to find indoor shelter to avoid frostbite, which can take hold in minutes in the frigid temperatures. The current temperature in Hibbing was listed at 17 below zero late Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
A fire hydrant located on a corner across from Zimmy’s was coated in ice as water pumped through it to fill firefighters hoses on the scene.
Zimmy’s staff were later allowed back into the building and power was restored at about 1 p.m. Thursday. There was no smoke or water damage at the restaurant, said Zimmy's owner Linda Stroback-Hocking.
Disaster assistance volunteers with the Red Cross and The Salvation Army responded to assist the several residents who were evacuated from the apartments.
The Salvation Army volunteers were handing out cups of coffee and hot chocolate to rescuers and evacuees huddled in their cars in the parking lot behind Sportsmen’s. The employees watched operations waiting to see what damage was done to their bar and restaurant.
The Salvation Army volunteers were also cooking up a lunch to serve to firefighters and evacuees at its shelter a few blocks away, said Lt. Randy Stahl.
“Everyone really appreciates what we do here, and we’re giving back to the community that’s what it’s all about — keeping people warm,” Stahl said. “… It was a really good response. We have great staff at the Army. We all just pulled together to do this.”
Crews with Hibbing, Nashwauk, Chisholm, Keewatin and Virginia fire departments are among those on scene. Hibbing Public Utilities crews were also on site to cut off electricity to the building, and Hibbing police officers are blocking the streets.