A fire broke out in the rear of a strip of buildings in the 100 block of South State Street in Marengo Friday afternoon | Photo: Christina Berumen.

A dozen fire departments were called Friday afternoon to downtown Marengo after a fire broke out in the rear of a building.

The Marengo Fire Protection District and Marengo Police Department responded around 12:25 p.m. Friday to the Marengo Business District in the 100 block of South State Street for a structure fire.

A fire started in the alley behind Flatlander Market, 125 South State Street, and firefighters arrived to find heavy flames and smoke showing from the building. Police officers and firefighters evacuated the buildings in the area.

The Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) was activated to the second alarm level, bringing around a dozen fire departments to assist at the scene. The fire was under control by around 1 p.m.

“It started somehow between our neighbors dumpster and a parked car. Everyone is safe! At this point we’re suspecting smoke damage and a couple window replacements to our vacant upstairs. As for the main floor we don’t know what to expect. We’re all waiting outside for updates as they continue to work on controlling the situation,” Rachel Landorf, an employee at Flatlanders Market said.

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The City of Marengo asked residents to avoid the downtown area and use alternative routes. Police closed streets from Grant Highway to Railroad Street along with Washington and Prairie Street.

“Residents may notice reduced water pressure while the hydrants are in use. If anyone is displaced, please come to City Hall for assistance,” the City of Marengo said on social media.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Marengo Fire Protection District.