A popular south Minneapolis pizzeria was heavily damaged Thursday in a spectacular blaze battled by firefighters who also had to deal with frigid temperatures and ice-caked gear and clothing.
The fire was reported at 5:50 p.m. at a building near 54th Street and Lyndale Avenue S. that houses Diamond Lake Rental and Beek's Pizza, located on the busy street across from a Kowalski's grocery store.
It's not known yet exactly where in the building and how the fire began, said Minneapolis Fire Marshal Perry Ebner.
One firefighter suffered minor injuries in a fall and was taken to the hospital.
Other nearby businesses, including the Blue Cross Animal Hospital and the Minneapolis Counseling Clinic, weren't affected by the fire, Ebner said.
Crews first tried an interior attack on the flames from the rear of the building but were forced out as the fire grew.
The single-digit temperatures created a secondary challenge for firefighters. Extra personnel had to be called in to work in shifts after overspray from hoses formed ice layers on their clothes, Ebner said.
"I appreciate everything they do," he said of the responding firefighters. "They are doing a fantastic job."
Beek's Pizza began with a pizza parlor on Hiawatha Avenue that opened in 1953, according to the restaurant's website. In addition to the Beek's Pizza in Minneapolis, there is also a Beek's in St. Louis Park.
Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495