MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One man is behind bars suspected of starting a deadly apartment fire in Minneapolis.

Crews were called to 1500 Park Avenue late Friday night. Residents of the apartment building were trapped by the smoke and flames and had to be rescued with a ladder truck.

Saturday, Minneapolis police arrested 30-year-old Marcus Dewayne Shanks. He’s in Hennepin County Jail Sunday morning facing a potential homicide charge for allegedly starting a fire in this building.

Friday night, crews worked quickly to put out the flames but also save the people trapped inside. Residents say the fire filled the front stairwell and hallways making it impossible to leave.

Two people jumped from third story windows to escape the building. One man died from his injuries. The other is in stable condition.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner identified the victim on Sunday as 59-year-old Royce Wayne James. Authorities say he died at Hennepin County Medical Center of multiple blunt force and thermal injuries.

Firefighters brought in the ladder truck to rescue several residents. One woman says she saw the man who started the fire throwing lighter fluid in the hallway.

“I was coming up my old man’s apartment and I seen some guy in the hallway, I don’t know him, and I said, ‘What the F are you doing,’ and he said, ‘I’m going to set y’all on fire, y’all need to get up out of here,’ and that’s when I ran,” Iris Mitchell said.

People who live here were allowed to go inside Saturday and grab a few belongings. However, they can’t stay because the building is badly damaged by fire smoke and water. The Red Cross is helping out.

So far, authorities haven’t given any information into a possible motive for starting this fire.



Comments (3)
  1. John Smith says:

    This reeks of Mike Freeman protecting his cuddly pets. Legally, if the perp is seen by many, and the judge issues high bail ($1 million here), there is no need for the mugshot to be “held.” In NY a paper smelled the same cover-up to protect Freeman’s and Betsy Hodges’ (& de Blasio’s) pets, so they filed an FOIA motion and the judge immediately ruled the mugshot be released. Too bad spineless Minneapolis papers also in love w/Somalians won’t do the same and imperil the public.

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