Fire Destroys Minneapolis Church, Injures 5 Firefighters
Five firefighters were injured during a fire at Walker Community United Methodist Church in Minneapolis.
Officials say the injured firefighters were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center with burns and heat-related injuries.
As of Monday morning, three of the firefighters have been released from the hospital, and two remain in the burn unit for non-life threatening injuries.
Fire Chief John Fruetel and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak visited the firefighters at the hospital. They said the firefighters were in good spirits given the circumstances.
According to authorities, crews were called to the church around on the 3100 block of 16th Avenue South just after 8:30 p.m. Sunday on reports of a fire alarm going off.
When firefighters arrived at the scene there was smoke smoldering in the attic. Officials believe it had been smoldering for some time before the alarm went off.
Close to 40 firefighters battled the three-alarm fire. Fire officials say the five firefighters were injured during a flashover, or burst of flames. When that happened, they say crews retreated.
The church, which was built in 1909, suffered severe damage. It has been a historic part of the Powderhorn neighborhood for more than 100 years.
There was a lot of lightning in the area at the time of the fire, but the cause has not been determined.
The building was demolished Monday morning after the fire. However, the congregation is still planning to have a community picnic Monday evening on the corner of 31st Street and 16th Avenue.