By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minneapolis man says he was likely just minutes from death when he was saved from a house fire that killed his best friend.

Just after 5 a.m. last Wednesday, a fire broke out at a duplex on Bryant Avenue in Minneapolis where Alex Franzen lived with his roommate, Jay Beck.

Before going to bed, Franzen said good night to Beck and his friend Bjorn. The next thing Franzen remembers is a firefighter pulling his burned, ash-covered body out of the smoking duplex.

“I had smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning. And then I woke up Thursday morning in the hospital,” Franzen said.

For a day, Franzen was unconscious. When he woke up, the first thing he said came to on his mind were his friends. His mom told him Bjorn survived. But Beck, who suffered burns on over 70 percent of his body, didn’t make it.

“I think he didn’t want to go on in that condition. He was conscious at the hospital, so his parents got to talk to him before they let him go,” Franzen said.

Alex, however, never got to say good bye. The fire took his belongings and his roommate, who was also his co-worker and his best friend.

Burger Jones, the restaurant where Franzen and Beck worked together for years and built their friendship, has offered to help Alex rebuild his life. On Saturday, Burger Jones will hold a fundraiser in which 10 percent of the day’s proceeds will go towards his medical bills. Franzen said he was overwhelmed by the gesture and said it will also be a time to remember Beck.

“He’s the type of person who would think it’s silly, all this fuss about him. We just kind of remember that he was a really good guy,” Franzen said.

Burger Jones Locations

Burger Jones Uptown (Near Lake Calhoun)
3200 West Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55416-4512
(612) 746-0800

Burger Jones Burnsville
1617 West County Road 42
Burnsville, MN 55306
(952) 885-2289

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