MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) – Nine people were injured during a fire in Minneapolis Saturday, a total authorities say could have been worse since there were more than 20 children and adults packed into the older building.
Fire Captain John Romero says the scene was chaotic.
“People screaming and hanging out of windows,” Romero said. “Everything was moving fast. We were dealing not with minutes, but seconds.”
Twenty-three people lived in the building at North 44th Avenue and Aldrich Avenue in north Minneapolis. Robin Green awoke to an apartment full of smoke. She lives with her two grandchildren – a baby and a 3-year-old.
“There’s no way you could’ve stayed in here and survived,” Green said.
She realized she had to drop the children out from the window. A neighbor successfully caught the baby, while firefighter Robert Martin caught the toddler.
“I’m thankful. I’m thankful that God has granted us another day,” she said.
Martin, who’s a grandfather, says a child in harm’s way changes everything.
“Kids really up the ante on it. Any life does,” he said. “But kids … you’ll go to any length. You don’t think about your life.”
He says while this was the first time in his 28-year career that he caught a falling child, he has delivered several babies.
The fire was confined to the basement and firefighters got the fire under control in about 15 minutes.
Several residents suffered smoke inhalation, and some suffered injuries from falls while escaping the building.
Officials are still investigating the fire’s cause.
The American Red Cross said it has helped the residents by provided food, lodging for two nights and taxi service.
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