A major fire broke out in Minneapolis, Minnesota and destroyed an apartment building on the south side of the city. 13 people were injured, six considered critically, after the early morning blaze on Wednesday.
Minneapolis, Minnesota Fire Chief John Fruetel spoke at a press conference and stated that the fire department did not know for sure as of yet if all residents of the building had been accounted for. Several individuals were able to get out on their own accord, but many others were stuck inside and had to be rescued by the fire department climbing up on ladders from the outside.
Fruetel explained that water was still being put onto the apartment building to make sure the fire did not restart. He added that firefighters have yet to be able to even enter the complex. Minnesota state fire investigators had also arrived on the scene.
He stated that the building held 10 different apartments, and that nine of them were occupied.
Fruetel said that the fire happened during extremely dangerous conditions. Minnesota outside temperatures were below zero, so that can cause fire hoses to freeze up, while hydrants and nozzles can also ice over with the water coming out that is being used to fight the blaze. Firefighters had to put down salt on the streets around the front of the building in order to improve their traction.
All the injured individuals were taken to nearby hospitals. A spokesperson for one of the hospitals stated that 10 of the fire victims were brought in to their emergency room. All the victims were adults. Three of them are listed as being in critical condition while the other seven are said to be in satisfactory condition at the present time. All of the injured are suffering from burns, broken bones or have both. A spokesperson from the other hospital that victims were taken to was unable to give out any patient information.
There has been no reason for the fire found as of yet, but it is believed that the building will be considered a complete loss.
The fire was first noted when an explosion was heard from the second floor. Witnesses state they saw windows blown out and glass scattered to the street below. An emergency call came in and the police reported a fire at about 8:15 a.m.
One person who lived inside the apartments had left before the fire happened on Wednesday morning. However, he had a cousin who was staying with him in his third-floor apartment when the explosion happened. The individual stated that his family member jumped from a window and ended up injured. He explained he had talked with him at the hospital where he was taken. He added that all the apartments were occupied by single men.
Flames were shooting up to 20 feet from the three-story building, Minnesota fire officials stated. Both the second and third floors of the apartment building collapsed.
Firefighters had originally entered the building, but they had to withdraw due to the danger. All in all, about 50 firefighters had arrived on scene about 9:30 a.m.
Residents that lived in other apartment buildings were watching from the sidewalk as fire officials taped off the damaged area.
They all agreed that the firefighters did a great job at putting the blaze out with the Minnesota fire.
By Kimberly Ruble