Updated: 01/02/2014 6:53 AM
Created: 01/01/2014 11:16 PM KSTP.com
By: Jay Kolls
Four Minneapolis firefighters who were the first people on the scene of the Cedar Avenue explosion on Wednesday tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS "it was nothing we had ever witnessed before."
Captain Joe Mattison, in an exclusive interview, tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, "When we rolled up on the scene, I knew it was not a great way to start the new year." Mattison says "there were victims in the street, people hanging out of windows and even people who jumped out of windows." Captain Mattison described it as a "war zone."
"When I first got there, I noticed a gentleman hanging out of the second floor window, and I witnessed another person on the ground who had already jumped out of one of the upper level windows, and that person did not have any legs," Firefighter Anthony Buchanan said.
Firefighter Cory Martin climbed a ladder to the second story and pulled two people out of the burning building and brought them to safety. "When I reached the second man he told me, 'I am afraid of ladders', and I had to coax him down because he was in shock and his skin literally peeled off his arm like a glove," Martin said.
You can watch our exclusive interviews with the firefighters in their entirety here.