Gallery: Minneapolis Apartment Fire

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A large fire ripped through more than a half-dozen condos in Uptown Minneapolis Friday morning, sending huge clouds of smoke into the air and one resident to the hospital.

The flames quickly chewed through three floors at the 100-year-old building on Lake Street and Irving.

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The fire burned for hours before dozens of firefighters could finally get the upper hand. The culprit was found to be unattended candles.

The people who lived in the eight-unit building lost everything. Among them was a young Iraq War veteran who says he’s been trying to get back on his feet.

Steven Stack says he heard about the fire while riding the bus on his way home from work.

“I did not expect that it was the building I’ve been staying in,” he said. “You go to work, you get off and you just plan on going about your day.”

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Stack says he served two tours of duty in Iraq. The 21-year-old army specialist says he’s been working through post-traumatic stress disorder. He says seeing flames shooting out of his building didn’t help his condition.

“I don’t even know what the word to bring up for that. I definitely was not prepared for this,” he said.

The building collapsed as firefighters worked more than five hours to put out flames and then work on hot spots.

Residents lost everything except for the clothes on their backs and what they were able to carry out. Stack didn’t even get that chance. He says he, like everyone else living here, needs all the help he can get.

“I’m going to get in touch with the VA and see what they can do,” he said.

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Stack and his neighbors are also getting help from the Red Cross.