Reporting Heather Brown
APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO) – Fire crews responded to the scene of a raging fire at an apartment complex in Apple Valley Friday morning.
Authorities responded to a report of a fire at about 8:15 a.m. Friday at the Valley Way Village condominiums near the area of Pilot Knob Road and County Road 42.
The fire was in a downstairs unit of the complex, and officials said seven people were affected in eight units of the building. One firefighter was hurt when he was hit by falling debris. He was sent to the Hennepin County Medical Center with minor injuries.
The fire spread so quickly by the time authorities arrived that it was a four-alarm fire. Apple Valley had to call in assistance from the Eagan and Rosemount Fire Department.
Condo resident Mary Ann Quam can tell you that when a fire takes almost everything you own – everything else is put into perspective.
“There are the little things in life you’re grateful for. I put my hearing aids in this morning so I didn’t lose my hearing aids,” Quam said.
At 8:15 a.m., Quam smelled smoke inside her apartment. She was wise enough to get out, pull her car out of the garage and heat it up for the neighbors – a couple and small child.
“Then I moved my car so that sparks wouldn’t get on the car,” she said.
Within minutes, the smoke turned into fire throughout the entire building. Brian Koepnick is thankful for the actions of Apple Valley Police.
“I was sleeping, and the police came and pounded on my back door and the fire escape. He said ‘Everybody’s got to get out, there’s a fire… grab what you can,’” Koepnick said.
Apple Valley Fire Chief Nealon Thompson says a man on the bottom floor of the building had burns on his feet.
“That individual escaped their…apartment with some injuries, and that individual was trying to help evacuate his neighbors. Police removed him because he was injured,” Thompson said.
Some people who live at Valley Way Village are now being helped by the Red Cross, neighbors – and like Mary Ann – by friends and family.
“I was really embarrassed because I’m still wearing my pajamas,” she said.
After a big scare, she’s grateful it wasn’t worse.
“We’ll make the best of it. I got a nice family and they’re all taking care of me,” Quam said.
Authorities said the seven people will not be able to return to their homes and many of them lost everything they had.
Authorities are still investigating what caused the fire.