The main public library in downtown Tucson will be closed through Monday after a truck caught fire in its underground parking garage.

Because the car was parked two levels below ground, under the Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave., “that was more of a challenge getting water down to it,” said Capt. Barrett Baker, spokesman for the Tucson Fire Department.

Crews were alerted to the fire at 8:40 a.m. when alarms went off in the library. The library had not yet opened, but 25 employees were evacuated, Baker said.

“A sprinkler helped control it so the fire wasn’t spreading to another car, but it wasn’t going to be able to extinguish it,” Baker said.

Firefighters had to connect their hoses to the sprinkler and standpipe, a rigid pipe system that allows firefighters to connect hoses in high-rise buildings or below-grade parking garages, he said.

Eight units and 21 firefighters responded to the fire. It took 12 minutes to extinguish the fire, and no other vehicles were damaged. Investigators determined the fire was accidental and started in the engine compartment of the truck, Baker said.

High-powered fans were used to disburse the smoke.

The main library is expected to reopen Tuesday, said Diane Luber, a Pima County spokeswoman.

All Pima County Public Library locations are closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day.

Kimberly Matas

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