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2 hospitalized, several displaced after south Minneapolis apartment building fire

3 hospitalized, several displaced in south Minneapolis apartment fire
3 hospitalized, several displaced in south Minneapolis apartment fire 01:52

MINNEAPOLIS -- Several families are figuring out what's next after a three-alarm fire forced them from their Minneapolis apartment building overnight.

The city's fire department said it got multiple 911 calls about flames on the first floor of the three-story building at West 61st Street and Lyndale Avenue South around 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Upon arriving, crews saw smoke and flames coming from the first and second levels and knocked down the fire from the outside before heading in.

"The fire was huge, smoke everywhere, everyone was running out," said Juan Flores, who lives in the apartment building."I didn't think it was gonna get this big and this extreme to the point where like I can't even breathe inside my apartment."

Some people with mobility limitations living here needed to be rescued from their balconies. Three people were taken to hospitals with minor injuries. Three firefighters were also evaluated on scene -- two for over-exhaustion and one for dislocating his thumb.

"I hope they're OK. It's something that no one wants to go through," said Flores.

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The Minneapolis Fire Department is still investigating the cause, but some residents are speculating.

"From my understanding is that there was some incense that caught on fire," said a resident named Eric.

MFD tells WCCO News when they got to the apartment building, they ran into an issue inside where the standpipes were corroded, and that delayed their response.

READ MORE: Fire crews save homes from Lino Lakes brush fire: "We're very lucky"

"That made it difficult to where we had to do another route, which was get extra hose and lay lines, so that took a little extra time," said Assistant Fire Chief Melanie Rucker.

More than 12 hours later, restoration crews were clearing out the units with the most damage. A second floor unit had a mother and three kids living in it. They all made it out alive.

While those three units were impacted the most, a total of 30 units had smoke and water damage and are not liveable for now.

"We don't know how long it's gonna be without an apartment. We'd love to get back in," said resident Carly Ulend.

The Red Cross is helping the displaced families. City officials told WCCO News it requires annual fire inspections on rental properties.

Woodhaven's last fire violation was in September 2022, and it was resolved a month later.

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