Explosion sets off major fire

5:51 PM, Jan 1, 2014   |    comments
Minneapolis building explosion (Courtesy: KARE 11 News)
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(UPDATE 5:30 p.m.) MINNEAPOLIS (WZZM) -- 14 people were injured, six critically, after an explosion caused a major fire at a Minneapolis building, housing an apartment building and grocery store.

The fire broke out New Years Eve morning at 8:15 a.m. at 514 Cedar Avenue South, according to our Gannett sister-station, KARE 11.

Hennepin County EMS Robert Ball told KARE 11 more than a dozen people were rushed to local hospitals. He describes the injuries as ranging from burns to trauma suffered while falling or jumping from windows.

"When crews arrived, there were victims that were already outside of the structure. There was heavy fire on the second and third floors of the structure," Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel said, before explaining that the flames were 20 feet high. "Crews made entry into the first floor of this structure but conditions became very (poor) very quickly. Crews had to back out of the structure and go to a defensive position outside of the building applying water," Fruetel added.

Some people told KARE 11 three people were not accounted for by mid-afternoon, but fire officials couldn't confirm the information.

"It's very early on in the investigation and it's going to certainly take us some time to try to determine the cause and/or origin," the Chief told reporters.

There were believed to be nine occupied apartments above the market. Fire officials say the second and third floors collapsed shortly after they arrived.

"We don't know the reason for the fire, we don't know the extent of it but we do know there are family and loved ones right now who need our hopes and our prayers because this is obviously a very, very difficult and potentially tragic event," Mayor RT Rybak said.

The below zero weather conditions made things both challenging and dangerous for crews trying to put down the blaze.



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