Madison firefighters knock down early morning fire at eastside office
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Water supply challenges initially made it difficult for firefighters to knock down a fire at an office building on Madison’s east side.
The fire erupted around 4 a.m. on Tuesday and flames could be seen ripping through the roof of the business, which is in the 1300 block of Mendota Street. The road was shut down for about six and a half hours before being reopened.
As crews forced their way into the building, they determined it was unsafe to continue fighting the flames inside the space. Extreme heat, lack of visibility and a suspicion the fire was in the ceiling forced firefighters to leave the building and fight the flames defensively.
Additional Madison Fire Department crews were called in around 4:15 a.m. as the call was upgraded to a “two alarm” response.
MFD noted water supply made fighting the fire a challenge, as some fire hydrants did not contain any water while others had slim levels of it. MFD called Madison Water Utility, who worked to supply higher pressure to the hydrants in the area.
”We did encounter some low water pressure and that’s not usual. That’s not something we encounter very often in the City of Madison,” MFD Public Information Officer Cynthia Schuster said. ”We were immediately in touch with Madison Water Utility to try to help get some additional water pressure into the area and they assisted us.”
Madison Water Utility Public Information Officer Marcus Pearson said his team responded as quickly as they could.
”Once we got that call we immediately got that booster pushing water out into the system in that area to get the pressure up,” Pearson said. ”There may have been a lapse for a few minutes there but how it works is 911 calls us, gets to our dispatch and then operators are right there.”
He said the Mendota Street area on the east side has less water pressure because there are fewer businesses and residents that need it, when compared to more populated parts of the city.
As firefighters contained the blaze, MFD crews went inside the building and checked for any hotspots. It took crews an hour and a half to ensure the fire was extinguished, due to the building’s construction and the way the fire had spread through the ceiling.
No one was hurt and no one was inside the building at the time the fire broke out, MFD noted.
The cause of the fire and where it started is still being determined.
As the morning rush hour began, MFD asked drivers in the area to use another route. The fire also shut down an entrance to the nearby Hy-Vee store and shoppers needed to enter from eastbound E. Washington Ave.
The fire department also let people who live in the area know that their water service could be affected because of the amount of water used to knock down the flames.
Click here to download the NBC15 News app or our NBC15 First Alert weather app.
Copyright 2023 WMTV. All rights reserved.