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Downtown Jacksonville Fire: New Insights into the RISE Doro Blaze

CEO Khai Intela
In a rare incident at a high-rise building in downtown Jacksonville, a devastating fire broke out at the luxury apartment complex RISE Doro on Sunday night, continuing into Monday. Over a hundred firefighters worked diligently...

In a rare incident at a high-rise building in downtown Jacksonville, a devastating fire broke out at the luxury apartment complex RISE Doro on Sunday night, continuing into Monday. Over a hundred firefighters worked diligently to battle the blaze that engulfed the eight-story building, located at 960 E. Adams St. and 102 A. Philip Randolph Blvd, in the heart of the city's sports and entertainment district. Although no injuries were reported, Mayor Donna Deegan expressed that the building appears to be a total loss.

Sections of the west side of the RISE Doro apartment building are clearly damaged following Sunday and Monday

What Caused the Fire at RISE Doro?

While it is too early to determine the exact cause of the fire, Fire and Rescue Chief Keith Powers revealed that it started on the sixth floor and spread to the seventh. The firefighters were alerted around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Any Casualties from the RISE Doro Fire?

Thankfully, no injuries have been reported thus far. Mayor Deegan reassured the public that it seems no one was inside the building at the time of the fire.

Impact of the Downtown Jacksonville Apartment Fire on Traffic

Due to the presence of extensive fire equipment and personnel, several downtown roads experienced closures or slowdowns overnight and throughout Monday. The affected roads in the immediate area include East Adams and A. Philip Randolph, Spearing and E. Monroe streets, and East Duval and N. George streets. These road closures are expected to continue throughout the week to allow for ongoing work and structural inspections.

At a 6 p.m. news conference update, Mayor Deegan announced the closure of Duval Street east from Georgia to Palmetto streets, Adams Street from A. Philip Randolph to Lafayette Street, A. Philip Randolph from Duval to Bay streets, and Gator Bowl Boulevard from Lafayette to Georgia streets. These closures are in effect for both vehicles and pedestrians until further notice.

Concerns of Building Collapse

Fire and Rescue Chief Powers expressed significant concern about the building's structural integrity. He stated that some of the walls associated with the building have been compromised due to the fire. As the roof burns off, there is a risk of the walls collapsing inward or outward.

Safety of Nearby Buildings

According to the Jacksonville Fire Department spokesperson Capt. Eric Prosswimmer, nearby structures like Maxwell House, Intuition Ale Works, and Veterans Memorial Arena should be safe from any immediate danger. Explaining that the fire did not emit a significant amount of heat to the sides or shoot embers, Prosswimmer highlighted that these buildings are made of non-flammable materials such as brick and concrete. Additionally, the fire department had crews in position to tackle any potential issues promptly.

A rainbow forms in the spray of fire hoses trying to knock down the last of the hot spots in the fire-gutted RISE Doro apartment building Monday.

Will the RISE Doro Apartments Be Demolished?

The final determination regarding the future of the RISE Doro apartments will be made by engineers once the fire is completely extinguished. Fire and Rescue Chief Powers emphasized the need for professional evaluation before any decisions are made.

Firefighters Mobilized to Tackle the Blaze

A total of 110 firefighters, accounting for approximately one-fifth of the department's normal staffing, responded to the apartment fire. The team deployed 12 fire engines, seven ladder trucks, six rescue units, and various other apparatus to combat the flames.

Sprinkler System Status

While the structure was equipped with piping for a sprinkler system, it did not activate during the incident. Mayor Deegan later clarified that the system was not functioning as it was scheduled for a pressure test later in the week.

Air Quality Concerns

Fire and Rescue Chief Powers advised individuals with respiratory issues like asthma to remain indoors due to the smoke from the fire. He mentioned the fortunate presence of heavy offshore winds that prevent the smoke from settling in a concentrated area. Mayor Deegan also expressed concern about protecting the river from the runoff caused by the firefighting efforts.

Comparing the Downtown Jacksonville Fire to Previous Incidents

Chief Powers described the RISE Doro fire as one of the worst incidents in the past decade. He made a reference to a fire in 2013 at the 5 Thousand Town, a six-story, 130-unit apartment complex near the St. Johns Town Center. The fire at that time was caused by bursting foam insulation and exploding propane tanks.

Presence of Contract Crews

According to Greg Blais of RISE, some flooring experts were working on the bottom floor of the building earlier in the day before the fire broke out. Fortunately, they had left the premises before the incident occurred.

Original Opening Date and Impact on Downtown Development

The RISE Doro apartments were scheduled to open on March 1. Mayor Deegan expressed her disappointment and referred to the incident as a setback for downtown development in Jacksonville. She emphasized the desire to see the site redeveloped in a timely manner. The developer, RISE: A Real Estate Company of Jacksonville, remains hopeful and committed to rebuilding the project.

An artist rendering of the RISE: A Real Estate Company of Jacksonville

The Commitment to Rebuild

Despite the devastation caused by the fire, the RISE: Real Estate Company of Jacksonville confirmed that the building is insured, and they fully intend to proceed with the project. Describing it as a "labor of love since 2019," the company expressed their commitment to the downtown area and their eagerness to see the rebuild take place.

Impact on VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena Events and Local Businesses

Mayor Deegan stated that the Jacksonville Icemen will still play their scheduled matches on Wednesday and Friday, with access to the parking garage unaffected. However, businesses such as Intuition Ale Works, Manifest Distilling, and offices across from A. Philip Randolph will have to remain closed until safety can be ensured.

In conclusion, the downtown Jacksonville fire at the RISE Doro apartment complex has been a significant event, with devastating consequences for the building. However, the authorities are working diligently to determine the cause, assess the structural integrity, and ensure the safety of nearby structures. The developer remains committed to rebuilding, and efforts are underway to minimize disruptions to local businesses and events.