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Teens rescued after getting trapped in abandoned St. Paul building

They were apparently exploring the old Ford assembly plant along the Mississippi River.
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Three teenagers were rescued by firefighters at an abandoned building in St. Paul on Wednesday afternoon. 

According to St. Paul Fire Department, the technical rescue took place at 965 Mississippi River Blvd. around 2:20 p.m. on a report of three teens trapped in a "confined area" of the building that was once part of a Ford assembly plant. 

One of the teenagers was transported to a hospital with unknown injuries. 

There were six teenagers who entered the building as so-called "urban explorers." Three escaped and called 911 after the others became trapped, according to authorities. 

The incident Wednesday happened less than a week after a teen was seriously injured in a five-story fall at the Fruen Mill in Minneapolis. At least four people fallen at the Fruen Mill since 2005, including one person who died. 

The most recent incident at the Fruen Mill involved a man suffering serious injuries after a 40-foot fall in 2015. Around the same time, a University of Minnesota student fell to her death while exploring the Bunge Grain Elevator near Dinkytown.

It's part of a larger problem with abandoned mills (and other derelict industrial sites) in Minnesota, which are an attractive destination for so-called urban explorers.

As the Star Tribune reported, the rise of social media and devices like GoPro have driven the popularity of urban exploration in recent years, with Minneapolis being a prime location because the city "generally doesn’t demolish vacant sites that are structurally sound because of potential for redevelopment."

But the hobby — which is popular across the U.S. and around the world — comes with a wide range of risks, including structurally unsound buildings, "the toxic chemicals known as PCBs, lead paint and mercury (especially at former power plants) and mold, asbestos and pigeon droppings," the New York Times says.

The paper points out that urban explorers also face legal ramifications, as the activity often involves trespassing on private property. 

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