Fire crews battling commercial fire | News

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Fire crews battling commercial fire

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An early morning fire Monday damaged police equipment and a city-owned building in the downtown area.

It happened at the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office's pretrial services building around 3:30 a.m. in the 500 block of North Washington Street.

Battalion Chief Neal White with the Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department said firefighters learned of the fire from an alarm inside the building.

Upon arrival, White said it was difficult for firefighters to locate the fire because of the building's large size.

He said the fire itself was on the second floor and relatively small, but that smoke made putting the flames out more difficult.

"It was pretty intense because of the size of the building. It's at least 5,000 square feet, and not being able to find the fire, we did not know if we had something worse than what it was. It had the potential to be very bad," White said.

The fire and smoke were brought under control in less than two hours, but the building and equipment inside sustained heavy damage.

White said he estimates repairs will cost at least $100,000.

He said, "I would guess the damage to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars just because of the equipment and damage to the building."

White said the damaged equipment includes computers, files and other office equipment. JSO told First Coast News on scene its corrections department is one of three unites that use the facility for pretrial services.

It remains unclear when the building will become operational again, but White said the structure is not a total loss.

"The fire was small enough that it did not damage anything structurally. If it had not been for the alarm company, it probably would have been a lot different," White said.

No one was inside at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported.

A section of Washington St. between Church and Ashley Streets had to be closed while firefighters were on scene, but it later re-opened to all traffic.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


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