Investigators: Unattended Candles Caused Condo Fire
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Investigators say unattended candles caused Friday morning’s condo building fire in Uptown Minneapolis that sent one person to the hospital.
Authorities received a report of a fire near West Lake Street and Irving Avenue South in Minneapolis just after 8 a.m., just east of Lake Calhoun.
When authorities arrived, the three-story condo building was fully engulfed in flames on the first and second floor.
Crews initially attacked the fire from the inside of the building, but had to evacuate it and fight the fire from the exterior as it grew.
A second alarm was called at about 8:30 a.m. to bring in more crews to fight the fire. About four minutes later, a third alarm was called after concerns that the fire would spread to nearby buildings.
Everyone was evacuated from Dunn Brothers and Bruegger’s nearby. Both businesses suffered water damage. Employees at both say they will likely be closed through the weekend at least.
The Minneapolis Fire Department says the fire appears to have been caused by lit candles from a first-floor condo. The cause of the three-alarm fire in the Uptown neighborhood was ruled accidental.
Authorities say at least one person has been injured with smoke inhalation. She was a 70-year-old resident who lived on the first floor. She was most recently listed in satisfactory condition at Hennepin County Medical Center.
Fire officials said they believe everyone who lived in the building is accounted for and made it out safely. One firefighter is reportedly recovering after sustaining burns to his face.
“You know I wasn’t dressed, so I just threw on my sweatpants grabbed my keys, my wallet and my phone,” said Scott Socks, who woke up to heavy smoke at 8 a.m. “I opened my back door to the stairwell and it was just a black wall of smoke.”
Once he made it to the street with neighbors, Socks says the building went fast.
“Before you knew it, it just went up,” he said. “You know the whole middle structure caught fire and started collapsing in itself.”
Firefighters did have to help some people get out. Nicholas Hutchison found himself stuck on his balcony.
“They brought a ladder over and helped me down,” he said.
The Red Cross has been at the scene most of the day to help residents with food, water and finding a place to stay if they need it.
The building — which was more than 100 years old — is a total loss, and is set to be fully demolished shortly. Crews said it was full of woodwork and lacking some of the fire safety features found in most modern buildings.