WINONA, Minn. - Sixteen people, including several Winona State University students have been displaced after a large fire destroys three buildings and damages others.
The call came in at about 2 a.m. about a fire on the 100 block of Center Street. The Winona Fire Department says the fire quickly spread from roof-to-roof. Many of the buildings on that street have connecting walls, which helped the fire spread.
No one has been injured. Winona Fire Chief Curt Bittle says they're not sure where the fire started, but the Islamic Center appears to have been burning the longest. The cause of the fire is not known at this time. That building has been torn down so crews can knock down the fire.
In Winona, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Streets between Center and Lafayette Streets are closed.
The buildings that house Brosnahan Law Firm, Blooming Grounds Coffeehouse and Sole Sports are among the buildings that are damaged from the fire.
Crews were battling the fire from the ground and two ladder trucks, but they haven't yet made entry to those buildings.
Red Cross is on scene to help firefighters and those who were forced to evacuate. Twelve people had to find emergency shelter. Some were relocated to Winona State University; others to area hotels; and some evacuees are with family and friends.
A Winona State University student who lived in one of the buildings told News 8 when he realized there was a fire spreading, he went door-to-door to help alert and evacuate students. You'll hear from him on News 8 at 5.
Winona's mayor tells News 8 this is the worst fire he's seen, but the community pulling together is inspiring.
The Winona Fire Department is being assisted by Winona police, as well as the Goodview and Wilson Fire Departments.
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