BREAKING: Residences along University Avenue evacuated after fire and explosion

On Thursday afternoon, Minneapolis Fire Department responded to a basement fire and sewer explosion along University Avenue.

Frat Row, home to the majority of fraternities on campus, as seen on University Avenue Southeast on Friday, Nov. 22.

Sydni Rose

“Frat Row,” home to the majority of fraternities on campus, as seen on University Avenue Southeast on Friday, Nov. 22.

by Minnesota Daily News Staff

UPDATE: As of 9 p.m. on Thursday, the University was advised by the Minneapolis Fire Department that it is all clear to reopen the facilities and residencies evacuated Thursday afternoon, according to a SAFE U notification.

University Avenue will remain closed to cars between 15th Avenue SE and Oak Street SE and emergency officials are still at the scene, however, no future updates to the circumstances are expected unless something changes.


UPDATE: The fire has been extinguished and no injuries have been reported, according to a press release from the Minneapolis Fire Department. 

The fire originated in the basement of a three-story building at 1717 University Ave SE. While responding to the fire, fire crews received reports of several manhole covers blown out of the street after a possible gas spill into a sewer line, according to the press release.

Buildings along University Avenue and Oak Street SE between 10th and 19th streets have been evacuated, according to the press release. Children that were at the YMCA as well as another daycare in the area have been evacuated. MTC buses are responding for temporary shelter along with Northrop Auditorium, according to the press release.

Fire crews are receiving additional calls of gas odors in the surrounding area and are monitoring buildings, according to the press release.


Minneapolis Fire Department (MFD) responded to a fire and explosion along the intersection of University Avenue SE and 17th Avenue SE, according to a SAFE U notification sent out around 3 p.m. on Thursday.

According to a Citizen livestream, firefighters first responded to a report of a basement fire in a building located along the 1700 block of University Avenue around 2:30 p.m.

A social media message shared with a Daily reporter said the fire could have originated in the boiler room of fraternity Delta Tau Delta. A student within this fraternity reported that the frat’s fire alarms went off and the house evacuated; after this, the explosion occurred and three members of Delta Tau Delta claimed to have seen the manhole covers blow up off University Avenue for about three blocks.

While responding to the fire, MFD reported receiving news of a sewer explosion that blew manhole covers off the road between 10th and 18th avenues along University, according to reporting from KSTP.

Following the initial notification, there was a follow up request for residents of the 17th Ave Residence Hall to evacuate, citing a nearby structural fire and a possible natural gas leak.

KSTP reported that by 4 p.m., buildings between 15th Avenue and Oak Street and between Fourth Street and Pillsbury Drive were being evacuated and authorities are requesting that people avoid the area.

MFP tweeted that no injuries have been reported and the cause of the incident is most likely a flammable gas spill rather than natural gas.

Any residents who have been evacuated are able to go to Northrop Auditorium for shelter, according to a SAFE U notice sent out by the University.