Minneapolis Explosion: Three Remain Critical, Four Missing

A Minneapolis explosion injured 14 residents at a Cedar Avenue apartment complex on New Year’s Day. Witnesses said the explosion occurred at approximately 8 am on Wednesday morning. When authorities arrived on the scene, the building was engulfed in flames.

Representatives with the Hennepin County Emergency Medical Services said 14 people were transported to local hospitals for treatment. Although most of the injuries were related to burns, several people either jumped or were forced through windows in the explosion.

KSTP News reports four people are unaccounted for. Authorities said the missing people are not hospitalized or with family members. They are concerned that some residents were trapped inside the building.

Of the 14 who were hospitalized, three remain in critical condition, and six are listed in “satisfactory condition.”

Neighbors said the second and third-story apartments are part of a community center, which includes a grocery store, a mosque, and 10 apartments. The apartments were built above the Otanga Grocery store.

Authorities said the cause of the Minneapolis explosion is still under investigation. They said investigators with the ATF and FBI are assisting in the investigation.

In 2012, a routine inspection determined the building was up to code. CenterPoint Energy spokeswoman Becca Virden said there were no reported gas leaks in the area.

Mayor R.T. Rybak said the victims and their families “need our prayers because this is obviously a very difficult and tragic event.” He also expressed his gratitude to the emergency personnel who worked in the “horrible cold” to contain the fire and save lives.

The three alarm fire was difficult to contain as the area was covered in snow and ice. KARE11 reports that most of the crews left once the fire was contained. However, some firefighters are expected to remain throughout the day.

Those who lost their homes in the fire are urged to report to the Brian Coyle Community Center at 420 15th avenue South for assistance.

The Minneapolis explosion is still under investigation. However, the community is thankful for the emergency crews’ quick response and hard work to save lives.

[Image via Wikimedia]