5 dead, 4 injured in 14th-floor fire at Minneapolis high-rise building

The fire happened at a building on Cedar Avenue South.
Publish date:

2:30 P.M. UPDATE

Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel confirmed Wednesday afternoon that five people were killed and three other residents were injured in a high-rise building fire earlier in the day. 

Chief Fruetel called it a "tragic" fire that presented responding firefighters with an "extreme environment of heat and wind-driven fire," with flames shooting 15 feet out windows from the apartment where the fire began. 

"They had zero visibility and they just did a really good job of extinguishing that fire," he said.  

Identities of the five victims have not been released by officials, nor have the extent of the injuries to the three residents who are hospitalized. Four of the five victims were found on the 14th floor in different units, while a fifth victim was located in a stairwell and died after being taken to a local hospital. 

One firefighter injured while responding to the blaze suffered what Chief Fruetel called an "exertion-type" injury. That firefighter was treated at a hospital and released. 

"Almost like an exertion-type scenario. Everything has to be carried up, we're a long ways up on the 14th floor. It's physically demanding," the chief said. 

Fruetel added that investigators belief the cause of the fire to be accidental, noting that finding the exact cause will take some time. 

The exact number of displaced residents is unclear, although authorities said residents from "fewer than nine" apartments have been displaced and are being provided shelter by the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. 

The 25-story high rise holds 191 apartments. 

"Keeping the residents, families, & friends in our thoughts as they wake to news of a tragedy," Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a tweet. "And all of MPLS is grateful to our firefighters who rushed toward danger & responded with [SIC] courage to an incredibly challenging set of circumstances."

Original story

Five people were killed in an early morning fire at a high-rise building in Minneapolis. The fire was reported on the 600 block of Cedar Avenue South Wednesday morning, with Minneapolis Fire Chief John Frutel announcing just before 7 a.m. that five people died in the fire while three others were hospitalized. One firefighter was hurt during the mission. 

The fire was initially reported to be on the 12th floor, but firefighters located the blaze confined to the 14th floor. 

"Bulk of the fire knocked down. Fire was located on the 14th floor, not the 12th. Fire appears to be a room and contents fire confined to the room of origin. Crews checking for extension and ventilating the hallways," the fire department tweeted at just after 5 a.m. 

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Residents were evacuated through stairwells, while heavy smoke was also reported on the 16th and 17th floors, prompting firefighters to ventilate the smoke through the roof systems. 

Fire officials said one resident refused to evacuate from the 21st floor. 

No further information is available at this time. 

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