Skip to main content

Support effort grows after more than 200 displaced by downtown fire

The Christmas Day fire has left families already struggling without anywhere to go.

The early morning fire in downtown Minneapolis has sparked a major effort to support more than 200 people who have found themselves with nowhere to stay on Christmas.

The fire at the Francis Drake Hotel apartments burned throughout Christmas morning, displacing scores of residents, many of whom were already homeless, with the apartment complex mainly used as an overflow shelter by Hennepin County.

Requests for donations were made early on Wednesday morning, and there was an overwhelming response.

Within hours of the blaze, Metro Transit buses were holding 240 people evacuated from the complex, with Hennepin County Commissioner Angela Conley among those issuing a call for diapers, socks and mittens.

A few hours later, the huge response meant that no more materials were needed.

In total, three residents were injured in the fire, with several more treated at the scene.

While donations have helped those suddenly without anywhere to stay, the challenge of finding them accommodation is proving more difficult, given that the Drake Hotel was already being used as an overflow shelter.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Among those commenting on the fire is Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who said: "The only word that comes to mind this morning is heartbreaking.

"As our firefighters work to contain the blaze, at the Francis Drake Hotel, we already know several hundred lives have been changed. People will need help, and they will need it immediately."

After the fire had been knocked down in the lower levels of the complex, firefighters had to evacuate and fight it from the outside, after finding it had spread to the attic and roof.

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves survive Knicks' second-half barrage to get back to .500

Karl-Anthony Towns' lay-in helped Minnesota get a win in The Garden.

FLickr - crime scene tape do not crozz

Charges: MN teen shot mom after dispute over meth

The girl's mother said there had been a dispute over methamphetamine.

bad roads, blizzard

No travel advised: High winds, whiteout conditions in NW MN

Zero visibility in parts of greater Minnesota Tuesday night.

holy angels high school j nelson

Update: Holy Angels evacuated over bomb threat, school says

Someone left a voicemail early Tuesday suggesting there was an explosive device.

radio station, microphone

Convicted stalker charged with harassment of another DJ at The Current

He pleaded guilty to similar charges involving the DJ's colleague back in 2015.

Mall of America exterior Tyler Vigen Wikimedia COmmons

10 new shops, food stops at Mall of America

Donuts, K-fashion, model cars — the new tenants cover a lot of bases.

Gophers basketball

Gophers fall below roster minimum, postpone Penn State game

It is "due to internal COVID-19 protocols within the Golden Gopher program."

Raheem Morris

Report: Vikings request interview with Rams' Raheem Morris

Morris was once the youngest head coach in the NFL at 33 years old.

train crossing S Boardman Ave, New York Mills, Minnesota - August 2013 crop GSV

Sheriff: Drunk driver crashed trying to 'beat the train'

The BNSF train slammed into the side of the driver's car.


Man run over after parking dispute leads to road rage crash

The two groups fought about parking prior to the crash.

hwy 41 engler boulevard crash crop

Deadly crash shuts down small stretch of Chaska highway for hours

A driver crossed over the center median and hit another vehicle.

covid test 6

You can now order 4 free at-home COVID tests from the government

Tests will ship for free within 7-12 days, according to the White House.


Screen Shot 2019-12-25 at 11.08.02 AM

Massive fire at Drake Hotel apartments in downtown Minneapolis

The building primarily serves as an overflow shelter for the homeless.

Drake Hotel fire

Part of Drake Hotel to be demolished after Christmas Day fire

The fire displaced more than 200 residents on Christmas morning.

Minneapolis Fire Department

Six students displaced after residential fire near U of M

The fire broke out at a two-story house in Dinkytown Tuesday night.

Canopy Hotel

Fire breaks out at new hotel in downtown Minneapolis

Fortunately it was a small one and was knocked down quickly.

Woman charged with setting fire to downtown Marshalls store

The store only just reopened after the July 15 blaze.

Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 7.33.02 PM

Fire breaks out at Young Joni in Minneapolis

The fire broke out around 6:30 p.m., with diners evacuated.