1 Dead After Fire In Vacant Mpls. Home

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.

  • Thomas Heffernan

    I think that it is extremely distasteful the way in which this tragedy has been covered on your “news” station. I woke up this morning and was watching the news about this poor man who died…and what do i see? I see your station showing video footage of firefighters giving a man CPR who later died at the hospital. It seems to me that your stations drive for sensationalism has VERY MUCH overstepped boundaries of decency and respect for this man. It seems quite evident that the man who died was squatting in this house and was probably trying to keep himself warm when the fire started. In all likelihood this man was one of the many homeless people that live in the metro area. I wonder if your “news station” would have broadcasted someone receiving CPR from a firefighter who later died at the hospital if that person had actually owned the house in which the fire occurred. What is the price of human life WCCO? Would you broadcast the image of your dead relatives on television repeatedly? I find your coverage of this horrible story to be utterly distasteful and clearly a gimmick to boost your ratings. Maybe if Minneapolis would have converted some of these abandoned homes into free housing options for the homeless this man (and many others like him) would not have died needlessly. This tragedy should help bring light to the growing problem of homelessness in the metro area. Homeless people ARE PEOPLE TOO! You didn’t show footage of the firefighters that got hurt, but yet you found it to be of “interest” to show images of firefighters attempting to save this man’s life even though he later died at the hospital. I wonder how your producers can sleep at night…Well, come to think of it, you’re probably sleeping very well in your nice warm home ignoring other human beings that are not as fortunate as you. Shame on you WCCO, this is surely a very poor way to start off the holiday season.

    • Bob

      Sensationalism vs. substance. Easy way to throw together a newscast. Kinda like showing coach Kill flopping around on the sidelines not too long ago

      • Chris

        Bob, exactly, we don’t need to show Kill doing the minow or a Hobo getting CPR..both are tastelss

    • eric

      I agree that was my uncle lucious. my brother had to get up at 4 am to id his body

      • Lori Scott

        Eric and Family,
        I am So Sorry for your Loss. You and Your Family will be in Our Prayers. May God hold you during this time of Grieving. Your Uncle is in a Better Place now ~ May Your Uncle R.I.P.

        I Agree with Thomas Heffernan and Other’s. Wcco has Changed. =(

    • joe

      you are so right, especially the ones who have lost everything due to illness of themselves or a family member. they are clearly not trying hard enough to be healthy and deserve every hardship they have brought upon themselves

    • Evil2Hope

      Was this a baby that broke into this house who was completely vulnerable or a man who made multiple decisions in his life which led to this. There are so many social programs to aide people like this but choose to abuse them to the point of not being allowed because of the damage they do. To survive as an adult human you have to EARN and provide for oneself without the expectation of being taken care of. Plus the danger these firefighters were put in should not be overlooked.

  • Meaning of Vacant

    Is it just me or is a house not vacant if there is someone in there? How about “1 Dead After Fire in Abandoned Mpls Home”? My first thought was a firefighter was killed since no one was in the home.
    And although I didn’t see the above mentioned news story, I agree with the writer. And clearly you discount the victim again by calling the home vacant. Just like he doesn’t even exist. C’mon ‘CCO, you can do better.

  • Tharen

    I agree with all of the above, I thought you guys were better than that, you are as bad as the Bemidji Pioneer for always mentioning if a person is a Red Lake member or Leech Lake member, and most definately yes, people are people, whether they are of color or homeless. Shame on you.

  • Angie

    How can the home be vacant if someone was inside? I get what it was supposed to mean but does no one edit this stuff?

  • red

    clearly not-

  • wront title again

    agree with above, and once again, the title to a story is wrong. Not vacant if someone was inside. If you can’t find your Webster dictionary, google it.

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