Police Investigating Apartment Arson That Leaves 1 Dead in Minneapolis, Man Arrested

October 08, 2017 03:04 PM

Minneapolis police have made an arrest in connection with a fire that left one man dead and displaced almost 30 people in Minneapolis late Friday night. 

Marcus Dewayne Shanks, 30, has been booked into Hennepin County Jail on probable cause murder charges. 

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Crews responded to the fire, now being investigated as an arson, at a 22-unit apartment building on Park Avenue South at about 10:45 p.m., when they found fire showing from the first three floors. 

"I saw some guy in the hallway. I don't know him and I said what are you doing? He said I'm about to set you on fire you all better get out of here, and that's when I ran," said Iris Mitchell, who lives in the apartment building. "I saw him spraying stuff on the carpet and stuff, lighter fluid stuff."

Several people were hanging out of windows, and at least two people had already jumped from third-floor windows by the time firefighters arrived. 

The Minneapolis Fire Department said it was later notified that one man who went to the hospital had died, but the cause of his death had not been officially declared. Nine people have died from Minneapolis fires this year. 

Another person is in the hospital in stable condition after, while others were treated for smoke inhalation. Two firefighters were injured, but they were quickly treated and released. 

A release said crews rescued everyone else who couldn't escape from the building on their own. 

"I thought we were going to die," said Jennifer Tesch, a tenant in the apartment complex. "I am shocked."

Tesch just moved in to the building a month ago. She says not even working in level one trauma at the hospital would prepare her for this.

"I'm used to helping everybody else but when it happens to your own surroundings and own personal self is in danger it's extremely emotional," Tesch said. 

Arson investigators were on the scene Saturday. Red Cross is helping 19 families following the fire. 

"We lost an innocent community member because of somebody's foolishness," Tesch said. "They tried to kill a lot of people in this building last night." 

Check back with KSTP.com as we learn more about this story. 

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