MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Four Minneapolis firefighters were injured fighting a house fire in northeast Minneapolis early Tuesday afternoon.

According to Minneapolis Fire officials, crews responded around 12:45 p.m. to the fire on the 1400 block of 19th Avenue Northeast. There, firefighters encountered the fire in the basement.

“The fire extended to the first floor and then the second floor. The fire got to the point it ‘flashed over,’ causing firefighters to have to evacuate the building, and three firefighters had to evacuate out the windows,” Minneapolis Fire Chief Bryan Tyner said.

Three firefighters are now being evaluated, but seem OK. One may have suffered a shoulder injury while the other two minor burns. Shortly after 2:30 p.m., fire officials said an additional firefighter suffered an injury during overhaul operations, and was taken to the area hospital.

The people who live in the building were not home at the time, crews said.

A mayday call was issued for help for one firefighter, which is something that usually happens only a few times in any firefighter’s career, but he made it out of a window safely.

“A mayday call is when a firefighter is lost or when he is running out air or when he’s trapped. It’s basically a call for help,” Tyner said. “It’s what we sign up for but it absolutely is scary when it happens.”

“You could see them blaring this alarm on the fire truck and then one of the bottom windows this firefighter just sort of jumped out of … and kind of landed on his head cause he was trying to get out so quickly. I’ve never seen anything like that before,” witness Anna Palmquist said.

Responders went to great lengths to put out reoccurring hot spots lasting for hours.

Tyner says this fire also serves as a reminder to make sure hydrants are easy to get to because, as we saw today, minutes are precious.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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