By Caroline Lowe, WCCO-TV

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — At least nine people were taken to the hospital after a fire broke out at a Bloomington apartment complex Tuesday morning.

The fire happened on the 9800 block of Nicollet Avenue South. It is still unclear what may have caused the fire.

Police said that some tenants punched out windows on the second and third floors to escape their units.

Parents dropped at least five children from the windows to safety. An officer described one parent angling their child head-first from the window.

“My cousin told me to get out. He busted out the window with his fist, tossed me out in the snow and I ran around in my underwear in the snow,” said 9-year-old Drewjuan White.

The boy’s grandpa, other residents and police officers caught children who were dangling from windows.

“People were yelling, ‘Help! Help!’ I was catching babies out the back window,” said Willie Wheeler. “We heard people in the hallway yell the building is on fire.”

The family was reunited at the shelter Tuesday afternoon after White’s mother and his 2-year-old brother were released from the hospital.

A number of the people taken to the hospital were children. Some people suffered smoke inhalation, other cuts from broken glass.

Residents, as well as some firefighters, were staying warm on buses.

The Red Cross is providing help for at least 32 people who were displaced by the fire. Bloomington Police Commander Mark Stehlik said some residents are staying at Kennedy High School temporarily until space can be found at a local church.

A few of the 11 units escaped without much damage and some residents were allowed back in for a short while Tuesday to retrieve their personal belongings.

Firefighters say the apartments where the doors stayed closed survived the fire in the best condition but the building is now uninhabitable.

Some residents said they smelled natural gas before the fire began. Investigators say there is nothing suspicious about its cause but it is still under investigation as to how it started.

Comments (18)
  1. Daniel says:

    WHY would a parent dangle their child out a window?! I understand the dangers of the fire, but still…!

    1. Mee says:

      Lets, see, force little Amy to walk THROUGH the fire in the hallway, or toss her out the widow to waiting firemen below… hmm your right, hard choice..


    2. chris says:

      Especially head first??

    3. jen says:

      Maybe because someone was waiting below to catch the child and the parent wanted to make the smallest distance possible for the drop? Or maybe to get the child’s face as far away from the smoke as possible? I mean there are tons of reasons why.

  2. Lynn says:

    I am glad we still have firefighters and the Red Cross in Bloomington with this economy! Who else could have rescue them on such a brutally cold morning! My thoughts and prayers are with the children and parents.

  3. jenny says:

    I live right across the street from that apartment and my friend lives in the apartment complex next to it….. it was scary to watch.. fire started out on the lower level. It consumed atleast half of the apartment building before it got put out.

  4. Chelsey Little says:

    Wow! There were fires EVERYWHERE last night! My buddy had his apt complex on fire in Inver Grove, there was the fire in St Paul w/one casualty, and I heard of several more!

  5. Cyn says:

    Daniel – head first so the child doesn’t inhale smoke. I don’t think the parent was going to drop the child head first. I’m glad everyone survived.

  6. Terry says:

    Good grief you people sure are quick to criticize , especially Mee. I agree, thank God for our brave firefighters and The Red Cross…………….Mee, get a life.

    1. lian says:

      I’m pretty sure Mee was being sarcastic.

  7. JamieinMN says:

    Hmmm risk a few broken bones or let my child BURN to death?!?!!??!

    Of COURSE I would throw them out the window. Probably not LITERALLY throw them, but it’s better than burning alive.

    1. Mee says:

      That was my point exactly….

      1. JamieinMN says:

        Yea, I don’t think these people read your comment fully. I could tell you were being sarcastic and saw the big “NOT” at the bottom.

  8. Melissa says:

    It’s amazing no one died! In a moment of desperation and panic, a parent will do anything to save their child. God bless the firefighters and first responders for all they do for us!

  9. Willow says:

    Is it me or are there an awful lot of fires lately in the metro area? Has anyone checked if they’re connected?

  10. rmsbl4 says:

    @ Willow Could ib that it is winter and probably a little chilly and that space heaters are being improperly used?

  11. Tommy says:

    I go to Kennedy High School which is litterally less than a block away from the fire and as I was driving to school I saw a whole bunch of cop cars and was like “holy crap! Is the school on fire?!?! Sweet no school!!!” then I realized it was the apartments. Praying for the affected families though.

  12. Kaicee says:

    As a EMT and a parent its a scary thing when you are called to a structure fire. You never know what to expect. I agree with several points a parent will do anything to save their child. In a panic it might not have crossed that parents mind as to how they were sending the child to safety all that mattered was the child was out of immediate danger. The firefighters and first responders are a special group of people who risk their safety for the safety of others. As for the high number of fires it is winter and a very cold one at that. People don’t always use thing as they are intended to be used. I would say they were connected it may be just some unsafe practices. With that being said some added fire safety may not be a bad idea either.

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