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Coggs Human Services Center closed as crews clean up after fire

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MILWAUKEE -- A five-alarm fire that destroyed a 120-year-old building containing a neighborhood grocery store remains under investigation. Fire investigators were on the scene Thursday, after the fire broke out early Wednesday morning near 12th and Vliet.

It took over 150 firefighters to bring the fire under control, on a 90-plus degree day with high humidity and breezy conditions.

Because of its age, the building was not equipped with a sprinkler system.

The Coggs Human Services Center will remain closed until Monday, June 25th due to smoke and soot damage inside the 150,000 square-foot building, as a result of Wednesday's fire.

Janay Erving had an appointment at the Center Thursday, and was frustrated to find the building closed.

"I took off work to come here to get my child care and stuff straight before the end of the month because they're going to close my case down or whatever and I won't have any child care, and then no one told me that they were closed or anything. They didn't send a letter or call or anything, so it's like I just wasted gas coming down here," Erving said.

Inside the Coggs Center, crews were hard at work Thursday cleaning, deodorizing and sanitizing surfaces, including floors. They also had to clean both sides of the ceiling tiles after covering surfaces with plastic, so they don't contaminate what's already been cleaned.

Crews said they hope to have the work completed on time so the building can reopen on Monday.

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