Small fire damages section of Scooterville building

A small fire damaged a section of the Scooterville building northeast of campus Monday evening.

Minneapolis fire crews responded to a report of smoke on the building’s second floor just before 6 p.m. About 25 emergency personnel isolated the fire and promptly evacuated tenants, according to Todd White, a battalion chief.

By 6:30 p.m., officials allowed tenants of the 8-story building, at 650 25th Ave. S.E., back in to scope out the damage. The building is home to a spice shop, imported scooter store and various artists’ studios.

Painter Alan Brewer said he called Scott Addington, the building’s owner, after smelling a perilous odor in his fourth floor studio. The smell originated in Addington’s office, Brewer said, where just a few hours before the tenant had dropped off his rent check.

Addington arrived a short time later and called the fire department, Brewer said.

“It looked like a smoldering fire,” said Brewer, a teacher at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. “It was probably burning long before I got there.”

Addington said he thought a burnt-out lamp caused the fire. He predicted that it won’t be expensive to repair the damage.

Ryan Garrity, a photographer with a third floor studio, biked from the West Bank as soon as he heard about the fire.

“I needed to come,” he said, as he climbed the stairway, which was filled with a thin haze of caustic air. “My whole life is here.”

Another tenant, Erik Noren, said when he saw more than a dozen fire trucks in front of the building, he was immediately scared for his business.

During the past four years, Noren said, he invested all of his money in Peacock Groove, his custom bicycle shop.

“I would hate to see it go up in flames,” he said.

Noren said he bought a business insurance policy on Dec. 1, and “my plan is not to use it.”