Squad car in chase hits gas line, sparks building fire

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A Ramsey County sheriff's deputy was in pursuit of a speeding suspect and attempting to make a traffic stop when his squad car spun out on a curve, crashed into a commercial building, hit a natural gas line and sparked a fire there.

The Pioneer Press reports the incident, at Labore Road and Willow Lake Boulevard in Vadnais Heights, happened around 9:30 p.m. Thursday. The blaze was contained in about an hour.

The squad car's airbags deployed and the officer was able to safely exit the vehicle and radio for help. The officer was taken to the hospital to be checked out as a precaution. No other injuries were reported.

KARE reports the commercial building houses several businesses, including an accounting firm.

"I'm just thankful nobody was there and that the deputy is okay and everyone got out," Taylor Ames, whose family runs the accounting firm told the television station. "So many of us work here and spend so much time here ... you can't even fathom what could've happened."

The Star Tribune added that while the fire was contained, it couldn’t be extinguished until the natural gas was completely burned up. The building suffered “substantial damage,” according to Ramsey County Sheriff spokesman Randy Gustafson.

KSTP reported the building has sprinklers, which fire officials on the scene credited with helping to extinguish the blaze.

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