Fire Breaks Out at Dallas' Fidelity Life Building

Vacant building undergoing renovation

By Frank Heinz
|  Wednesday, May 8, 2013  |  Updated 5:55 PM CDT
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Fire investigators are looking for the cause of Wednesday's fire at the Fidelity Life Building at the corner of Elm and Griffin Streets.

Eric King, NBC 5 News

Fire investigators are looking for the cause of Wednesday's fire at the Fidelity Life Building at the corner of Elm and Griffin Streets.

A three-alarm fire broke out inside the Fidelity Life Building in Downtown Dallas late Wednesday morning, shutting down traffic in the area while stalling rail service downtown.

Dallas Fire-Rescue said the first alarm for 1025 Elm Street was received at about 11:50 a.m. Firefighters arrived at the scene a short time later to find flames and smoke billowing from the windows of the fifth floor on the north face of the building.

Firefighters entered the building and began attacking the fire from the inside while several other firefighters staged themselves outside, on the roof of an adjacent building.

In all, 65 firefighters responded to the call.  DFR said the fire was escalated to three alarms due to the size of the building and the hot and humid temperature inside.

After noon, as firefighters got the blaze under control, flames and smoke once visible outside retreated.

Fire officials said the fire in the nine-story building was tapped out at about 1:12 p.m. With the smoke cleared, black soot could be seen covering the exterior of at least two floors of the building above the fire.

DFR said the building was vacant and undergoing renovation into a hotel.  Dozens of construction workers were inside the hotel when the fire started, but all were able to escape without injury.

As firefighters battled the fire, several streets in the area, including Pacific and Griffin, were closed by the Dallas Police Department due to falling glass. 

Additionally, Dallas Area Rapid Transit suspended rail service through downtown into the afternoon. 

Shuttle buses are helping commuters make connections, but riders should expect delays Wednesday afternoon, DART said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, DFR said Wednesday afternoon.

NBC 5's Eric King contributed to this report.

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