ROCHESTER, Minn. – A vehicle crashed into a building overnight, started a fire and the driver had to beextricated.
The Rochester Fire Department says it happened a little after 1 am Saturday in the 3900 block of 18th Avenue NW. Firefighters arrived on scene to find the vehicle ablaze and the flames being fed by the building’s gas supply. The Fire Department says electrical lines has been knocked down and were still active when they began battling the fire.
Rochester police had also pulled at least one person from the vehicle before firefighters arrived on scene.The driver, 32-year-old Justin Kelley, smelled of alcohol, police said, and had his blood drawn. Kelley was taken to St. Mary's Hospital for fractures in his spine and a compromised airway.
The flames were contained by water from hoses and extinguished by shutting off the gas supply to the building. The fire department says no firefighters were injured and quick work kept the flames from spreading much beyond the rear entrance door to the building.
The driver of the vehicle was taken from the scene by Gold Cross Ambulance.
The fire department says the vehicle is a total loss and the building sustained more than $200,000 in fire damage to the east side of the building and smoke and water damage throughout. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Rochester police, Rochester Public Utilities, and Minnesota Energy Resources assisted at the scene.