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ATF National Response Team joins investigation into Minneapolis vacancy fire with disturbing past

ATF team joins investigation into Minneapolis vacancy fire with disturbing past
ATF team joins investigation into Minneapolis vacancy fire with disturbing past 02:05

MINNEAPOLIS – A federal team has joined the investigation into a fire that destroyed an abandoned Minneapolis apartment building.

The ATF National Response Team showed up to the burned building at 2313 Lyndale Ave. S. early Monday morning. They've been called in to help local and state agencies determine the cause of this fire.

"Time will tell what we can find," said ATF spokesperson Ashlee Sherrill.

ATF's biggest asset is resources they can provide for a large-scale investigation inside a collapsed four-story building

"You may see large excavating equipment, and that's something that ATF can provide to the state and locals at no cost," said Sherrill.

It's pretty rare for federal agents to be brought in for something like this. The last time the ATF National Response Team was in Minnesota was in summer 2020 during the civil unrest.

"This is the first time ATF has been called in this year," said Sherrill.

This vacant and condemned apartment building is owned by C. David George. It's been a nuisance property for some time, with Minneapolis getting disturbance calls to the building 53 times in the last year.


WCCO learned on Monday that the City of Minneapolis staff reached out to the owner 16 times since May to let him know about various safety issues at his property, and his obligation to maintain and secure the building. They were in touch with him as recently as the week before the fire.

This property is in the Lowry Hill East neighborhood, which is councilmember Aisha Chughtai's ward. She told WCCO in a statement that the city is working with the owner and his attorney, who has indicated he would like to sell.

Councilmember Chughtai says she's looking at potential buyers, including affordable housing owners.

C. David George hasn't returned our calls. He also owns another vacant property in Loring Park. That building had a fire back in September. It was re-boarded up by the city, and then the city billed him for these services since it's his job to ensure the hazard doesn't happen in the first place.

Councilmember Chughtai encourages people to report issues with vacant buildings. She says documented patterns help with city intervention to start making changes.

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