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Five dead after fire in high-rise apartment building in Cedar-Riverside

The apartments are designated as public housing.


Five people have died after a fire broke out in a public housing high-rise apartment building in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood on Wednesday morning.

Minneapolis Fire Department crews responded to a fire around 4 a.m. on Wednesday at the 25-story Cedar High Apartments located at 630 Cedar S. in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.

“We are a resilient community, we will overcome this tragedy,” said Ward 6 City Council member Abdi Warsame at an afternoon news conference. News conference references were sourced from a live video streamed by Star Tribune reporter, Libor Jany, on Twitter. 

The 191-unit apartment building is operated by the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, home to many low-income residents. The most recent count of residents living in the 1960’s-era building at the time was 198, with mostly single adults, said Jeff Horwich, a spokesperson for MPHA at the news conference.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, they were unable to see the building above the eighth floor, said Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel. Smoke was venting out from the windows, he said.

“I’d like to express our department’s condolences to the families,” Fruetel said at the news conference. “We had such a horrific loss of life today.”

The fire started on the 14th floor of the building and extended down the hallway. Four people were found on the 14th floor and pronounced dead at the scene. A fifth person was found in the stairway of the apartment building, where they later died at the hospital. Details on which hospital have not yet been shared.

Three others were also taken to the hospital for medical concerns, and one firefighter for a minor injury. 

The fire was extinguished in about 30 minutes. Workers with the American Red Cross were also on the scene early to aid those impacted. 

Tracey Scott, interim executive director for MPHA, said most people in the complex were not affected by the fire. Fewer than nine households have been displaced temporarily due to water or fire damage. MPHA will provide them with housing in the meantime, she said at a news conference. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Fruetel said as of now, it looked like the cause is accidental. 

This is a breaking news report. More information will be added as it becomes available.

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