Family, friends grieve loss of teen who died in fall from fire escape


Family and friends of 16-year-old Blake Fannin will remember his passion for basketball and his love of friends, as they mourn his death after a fall from a Minneapolis fire escape.

“He brought people together, that's what he was known for,” his brother told FOX 9.

Fannin, according to an obituary in the Star Tribune, was about to start his junior year Southwest High School and played with Minnesota Developmental Basketball.

The Star Tribune reports he and a friend were traversing a building's fire escape on the 2500 block of Girard Avenue South in Minneapolis's Uptown neighborhood around midnight Sunday when the ladder gave out. Fannin fell four stories and died, the paper says.

The teen was breathing when first responders arrived, MPR News reports, but later died at the hospital.

He is survived by his parents and three siblings.

Fannin's brother, Eli Fannin, told FOX 9 and other news outlets the ladder appeared to come detached from the wall; Blake Fannin's father, Kevin, told the Star Tribune it was in "bad disrepeair." The building is near his mother's house, reports note.

According to KARE 11, Eli Fannin said he's concerned about a possible lack of inspections, and other nearby buildings having the same issue – but a housing official told MPR News inspections aren't required on that property for a number of reasons.

A fund to provide a scholarship in Fannin's name, to help those who aren't able play on basketball teams that require fees, was set up at Deposit a Gift.

"Blake was passionate about having anyone who wanted to play, actually be able to play. He lobbied for one of these leagues to allow less fortunate to play without the fees," the fund says. "One of the ways we can honor his cause is to give to this fund which will provide scholarships to kids who are not as fortunate and need the funds to play."

The goal is to raise $10,000.

A celebration of life is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis.

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