Fire devours Minneapolis business

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 17, 2011 - 8:19 PM

A raging fire reduced a decorations and props manufacturer to rubble early Thursday morning. No injuries were reported.

A south Minneapolis business that has long provided decorations and props for amusement parks, shopping malls and the Minnesota Renaissance Festival was reduced to smoking rubble in an early-morning fire Thursday.

The blaze at North American Carrousel Co.'s one-story commercial building at E. 28th Street and 27th Avenue S. smoldered for much of the day even after backhoes tore down the remnants of the structure.

Fire crews arrived about 10 minutes after a Metro Transit bus driver reported the fire at 5:20 a.m. They forced their way into the building but soon retreated because of the intensity of the blaze and concerns about the structural integrity of the building, according to Assistant Fire Chief Cherie Penn.

No one else was in the building, and no injuries were reported.

North American Carrousel Co. advertising itself as the builder of "push carts, faire rides, games, props and signs."

The company, which says it has been around for more than 32 years, also makes holiday-themed props, carved signs and merchandise carts, according to its website. Its workshop and warehouse were in the building. A spokeswoman for the Renaissance Festival said the company has supplied several games for years, including knife-and-axe throwing and the festival's tomato toss.

The property was coated all day in a glaze of ice, caused by Thursday's subfreezing temperatures. As firefighters continued to pour water on the debris, the only identifiable item was a massive carved torso of a horse.

The building was constructed in 1960 and is valued at $468,500, according to Hennepin County property records.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

BOB VON STERNBERG AND CHRIS HAVENS

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