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.READ MORE: Hastings Community Rallies In Support Of Child Outed As Transgender As Part Of School Board Election
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.READ MORE: Some Winter Equipment In Short Supply As Snowfall Heads For Minnesota
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.MORE NEWS: How Minnesotans Can 'Winterize' Their Vehicles For Winter Driving
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)