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Large blaze in downtown Topeka under investigation

(WIBW/Jovarie Downing)
(WIBW/Jovarie Downing)(WIBW)
Published: May. 29, 2019 at 7:32 PM CDT
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A massive blaze at a downtown Topeka warehouse had the Topeka Police Dept. urging people to avoid the area, so firefighters are better able to tackle the flames.

"Please be mindful and allow crews space to keep you safe," they said in a tweet.

Firefighters were first alerted to the fire at the warehouse, near 1st Street and Kansas Ave., around 6:50 p.m. Wednesday. The fire has since spread into the nearby Kansas Ave. Lofts.

No one was inside the burning building, but those inside the adjacent buildings were evacuated.

Topeka Fire Marshal Mike Martin said they tried to go on the offensive against the blaze as soon as they arrived, but had to retreat because of collapses.

"We attempted to go into the first floor to do an offensive attack, but there was already some collapse occurring so we had to back out," Martin said. "We're in a defensive mode right now we're just trying to make sure the other structures on either side remain safe and we're probably going to be here a while."

Martin said crews will be in the area for a while.

Shawnee Co. Dispatch told 13 NEWS they fire was contained around 3 a.m. Thursday. The fire department continues to investigate.