At 8:16 AM this morning, an explosion erupted at a Minneapolis building containing apartments and a grocery store. Shortly after the explosion, a three-alarm fire broke out, prompting firefighters to respond to the scene.
Upon their arrival at 9:30 AM, firefighters witnessed a roaring blaze on the second and third floors of the building and victims standing on the sidewalk outside the building, many without proper hats or coats due to the haste in which they escaped:
"Upon arrival crews made entry into the first floor of this structure. Conditions became untenable very quickly, with major fires coming out of the second and third floors. Crews had to back out and go into defensive position outside of the building, applying water," stated Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel.
— NBC Nightly News (@nbcnightlynews) January 1, 2014
Unfortunately for the victims and the firefighters, the fire was not the only obstacle to overcome. Temperatures in Minneapolis were at -1 degree Fahrenheit today, making the job of the firefighters extremely difficult:
"We deal with this all year, every year. But I can tell you that it does make the job a lot more difficult for the firefighters working in this because, of course, the best way to put out a fire usually is water and water in sub zero temperatures makes ice and all of the sudden it's very dangerous for personnel working on a fire ground," stated EMS worker Robert Ball.
The building housed 10 apartment units on the second and third floors, 9 of which were occupied at the time of the fire. The ground floor of the building was also home to a grocery store. The fire may have also damaged a mosque located behind the building, as well.
As it currently stands, 13 victims have been taken to local hospitals, 6 of those with critical injuries: "Most of the injuries that we've been seeing so far are a combination of burns from the fire and some trauma from people that came out from the windows, at this time we're not certain whether they had fallen, jumped or were pushed out due to the fire and explosion," Ball reported.
Unfortunately, not all of the people living in the apartments have been accounted for yet. While firefighters continue to do their best to control the fire and survey the scene, the conditions are still too treacherous to search for those unaccounted.
What remains of the apartment building after the fire pic.twitter.com/XR9x9Jl4yl
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Image via Twitter