Hookah coal ignites Como house

A fire started at a house rented by University students early Monday morning.

Thomas Q. Johnson

Fire engulfed the rear of a house rented by University of Minnesota students in the Como neighborhood early Monday morning. Residents of 14th Avenue SE between East Hennepin and Talmage Avenues awoke to sirens around 12:50 a.m. when a fire that began in the kitchen spread to the rest of their house. Architecture junior Stefanie Perez , who lives a few houses down, said she heard a person run out the house screaming âÄúfire!âÄù just before the fire department arrived. Multiple emergency vehicles quickly battled the blaze for half an hour before bringing it under control. Four of the five residents of the house, all University students, were home at the time of the fire and all made it out safely. The fire started when a garbage can in the kitchen, located on the first floor in the rear of the house, ignited after a still-lit hookah coal was thrown away, according to residents. The fire then traveled up the walls and ignited the back porch on the second and first floors. Minneapolis Fire Capt. Walt Priest said that the house could be refurbished without having to be demolished, though he estimated approximately one-third of the house had burned. The landlord of the establishment, Roman Gadaskin , said the rear of the house, which had been burnt most severely, was remodeled only a few years ago. By 2:30 a.m. a fireman accompanied the residents back into the house to retrieve belongings. A layer of soot covered most of the upper bedrooms, but they were not badly burnt, resident Erich Boldt , a junior biomedical engineering student, said. Residents said they are looking for more permanent housing in the Dinkytown area and have had part of their rent and their damage deposit refunded by the landlord.