Five killed, four hurt, including firefighter, in apartment fire in Minneapolis

Cheryl Sanders
December 2, 2019

Crews found smoke on the 14th floor which is where the fire was located.

The fire was extinguished in about 30 minutes. A firefighter was being examined for a minor injury, he said.

"A very tragic night at the beginning of a holiday weekend", Fruetel said.

Warsame added, "I think the first responders did a good job, they got everybody down and it could have been a lot worse".

"It had been burning for a while", Fruetel said.

Local newspaper Star Tribune reported that the 191-unit building is for low-income residents and is operated by the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. Officials said the victims were found in multiple units on the 14th floor.

Four people died in various units on the 14th floor during the fire and one other person died after being found in the hallway and taken to the hospital, Bryan Tyner, the department's assistant chief of administration, told PEOPLE. Some relatives of residents said that those who heard the alarm were confused about what to do, and many older residents resorted to calling relatives for help.

Officials were investigating what caused the fire, which left a charred stain on the outside of the tall, brown building. Mayor Jacob Frey, in a Facebook message in English and Somali, described the fire as "devastating". Horwich said the building was built in 1969 and wasn't required to have a sprinkler system due to its age.

Abdi Warsame, a City Council member who traveled the floor that burned, stated surprise that more people have not died. Numerous residents' children and grandchildren flocked to the building to check on their family members, he said.

The fire that killed five people in a Minneapolis apartment building struck in a public-housing complex mostly inhabited by single people and seniors. Four others were injured in blaze, which started on the 14th floor of a 24-story building in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood around 4am.

The city of Minneapolis does no conduct scheduled inspections of the building, because it is managed by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, Hill said. Horwich said the 14th floor would be uninhabitable for some time, but it was possible residents of the 15th floor and above could return as early as later Wednesday.

"The buildings are built of concrete, a natural fireproof insulation between units that usually prevents a fire from spreading", he said.

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