ROCHESTER, Minn. – There was a brief scare in downtown Rochester on Friday morning after a 911 caller reported a huge cloud of black smoke coming from a hotel across the ramp on Second Street SE.
According to a Rochester Fire Department news release, the smoke was coming from the Holiday Inn building at 220 South Broadway Ave. Upon arrival just before 11 a.m., crews saw the smoke coming from an intermediate roof level between the Holiday Inn and Associated Bank buildings.
Firefighters were sent with high-rise firefighting equipment to building’s fourth floor. The crews learned the smoke was not coming from inside the building but from the roof. Due to the cold temperatures, building personnel said they changed the fuel source from natural gas to fuel oil. This change required a warm-up period, and once the fuel system warmed up, the smoke disappeared.
Deputy Fire Chief Steve Belau says the department sees this sort of thing perhaps every other year among downtown buildings that have alternative fuel-powered boiler and generator systems.