Minneapolis Firefighters responded early this morning to what was described as an explosion fire. Upon arriving, emergency personnel witnessed flames shooting 20 feet from the windows of an apartment complex and residents jumping out of their third story windows to frantically save their lives.
911 operators got the call at about 8:16 and responded to the fire within minutes. Sadly when they arrived at the location, the fire had spread to a large majority of the building and was shooting out of the windows.
Immediately upon arrival, firefighters went into the building in an attempt to save the lives of anyone trapped, but within a mere 15 minutes they were pulled out. As the fire ate away at the inside of the house, it was damaging the floors above creating the potential for the building to collapse.
All in all, thirteen people have been reported injured while an unknown amount of people remain unaccounted for. The injured were taken to nearby hospitals and treated for either burns, or injuries sustained from their third story leaps.
Firefighters continued to try and suppress the flame and did report a decrease in the area and quantity of fire. They did however have other things to consider as Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel stated, “these are very treacherous conditions.”
As temperatures were well below freezing, some hose operators noted that the water was freezing just after leaving the hose. At the time, authorities were also worried about responders catching hypothermia.
Eventually the fire was put out and a search was conducted for the unaccounted residents. The 10 apartment complex was then torn down to avoid further risk and injury. Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges expressed, “This is a tragic morning for the city of Minneapolis.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.