MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Crews were called to a fire at 1426 Barnes Place in Minneapolis around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. When they got to the home, smoke and flames were showing.
“Front door was boarded, so we had to force entry,” said Deputy Fire Chief Todd Steinhilber, with the Minneapolis Fire Department. He said the fire started on the first floor, burned to the second and part of the roof.
Firefighters found one man unconscious on the first floor and pulled him from the home. He was given CPR on the scene and taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, but Minneapolis Police said the man died of cardiac arrest shortly after arriving there.
Steinhilber said the house appeared to be vacant — the door was boarded up and there was no electricity to the house.
Two firefighters were also injured. They fell through a hole in the first floor and landed in the basement. One was taken to HCMC but Steinhilber said the injuries are minor.
“One landed on the other, kind of cushioned the fall,” said Steinhilber.
The fire was completely put out around 1:35 a.m.
The home was added last March to the city’s Vacant Building Registration, a listing of some 800 vacant structures. The city keeps an eye on them.
“One of the things we see with vacant buildings is copper thefts, architectural thefts, and other types of illicit activity,” said Tom Deegan, director of Housing Inspections for the City of Minneapolis. He added that prostitution and drug-dealing also happen in these vacant structures.
Deegan said the home has been checked every month since getting on that list. City inspectors noted it was vacant and secure, meaning locked up, during inspections the last several months. The last one happened on Halloween.
“Someone may have forced entry in the back of the building. Again it’s one of the ways we secure these,” said Deegan.
He said with hundreds of homes and a handful of inspectors, the city can only do so much. Those inspectors can’t be everywhere, and there’s always the chance that someone could break in.
The city really wants to hear from neighbors if they see illegal activity in some of these vacant homes. Either call 911 or the city’s resource line, 311, and someone will come out and check on the property. The last thing they want is crime happening in these homes.