MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile Fire Rescue Department responded to a three-alarm fire on Dauphin Street in downtown Mobile around 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

According to MFRD, the building that caught fire was vacant when the fire started. However, the fire did spread to some surrounding businesses.

MFRD spokesman Jeff Haller said a quick response time kept the fire from being even more detrimental.

“Central station, which is right down the street,” Haller said. “That distance really helps with the response time.”

Mobile resident Tommy Fulton witnessed the fire from his balcony, which is just across the street from the building that went up in flames. He said he had just gone to bed when his wife spotted flames across the street.

Fulton commended MFRD for their response to the fire.

“Amazing work by the firemen,” Fulton said. “Again, a bunch of brave guys. I don’t think I’d want to walk into the flames they were walking into.”

Although the building was vacant at the start of the fire, Fulton said homeless people have been known to live there.

“We’ve actually been up there before when we’ve seen the police going into the building and flashing their flashlight all on the second floor up there, looking for people,” Fulton said.

Historic Mobile had been in talks to take over the building which is currently owned by Hoffman Estates.

“You know, it looks like there’s not much left, but the facade is left, and that, as far as what happens on the street, and to pedestrians and to people who use the street, the façade is the most important piece,” Carol Hunter, from Downtown Mobile Alliance, said.

Hunter said engineers with the Downtown Mobile Alliance will present a plan to preserve the building’s façade to the city on Monday. She said the building would likely need to be gutted in the process.

The sidewalk and on-street parking in front of the building will be closed until the building is permanently secured. The city said they are hoping to complete that work quickly.

The fire is still under investigation. Stay tuned for updates.