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4 remain in hospital after Cedar-Riverside blaze; cause still undetermined

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Two weeks after a New Year's Day apartment building fire in Minneapolis, four victims remain hospitalized, MPR News reports.

The fire in the city's Cedar-Riverside neighborhood killed three and injured 13. Three of the survivors remain at Hennepin County Medical Center, and doctors have described some of the burn injuries as "catastrophic," MPR reports. Two this week were listed as critical and the third was in satisfactory condition.

Yet another victim, 41-year-old Ali Jama, a truck driver from North Carolina, remains in fair condition at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, MPR says.

Jama broke both legs and several ribs when he leaped from a second-floor apartment window. He told reporters he was visiting friends and sleeping in a second-floor apartment when there was an explosion and the windows blew out. His exit down the stairs was blocked by thick smoke. "I thought I might die," he said. "I prayed, but I thought I was dying."

The cause of the fire, believed to have been the result of an explosion, remains under investigation. The blaze destroyed the Otanga grocery on the first floor of the building and displaced residents from 10 apartment units on the second and third floors.

Roommates Ahmed Ali, 57, and Mrimri Jama Farah, 60, were killed in the fire. A third man, Abdiqani Adan, 29, died as a result of complications from injuries several days later.

A concert event to benefit the victims is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 24, at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis.

Donors can help families of the victims through the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota, Pillsbury United Communities, or by calling the Brian Coyle Center at 612-787-3730. You can also contribute to a relief fund at Wells Fargo bank locations.

Meanwhile, officials at the mosque next to the building destroyed by the fire have been seeking a temporary home. About 300 people prayed at the mosque, considered the first Somali-American mosque in the state.

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