Backdraft at south Minneapolis house fire sends 2 firefighters to hospital
Two firefighters were taken to a hospital after a small explosion while they were battling a fire on Wednesday morning in Minneapolis.
The Minneapolis Fire Department was called to the 1800 block of South Sixth Street shortly before 5:30 a.m. on a report of a fire that had spread to a home and a business.
The fire started between a home and a business on South 6th Street in a makeshift dumpster which spread to the exterior of the home, according to Melanie Rucker, assistant fire chief for the Minneapolis Fire Department.
When fire crews arrived, the first and second floors of the home were on fire, which later spread to the attic and roof. Firefighters worked to extinguish the flames on the inside and outside of both buildings.
Rucker added that as crews were inside of the business working to put out the fire, they opened up a wall and a buildup of gas caused a small explosion in what’s called a “backdraft.”
Two firefighters were knocked off their feet by the backdraft but were able to get out with help from other firefighters. They were then taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Rucker said the firefighters were in good condition and were taken to the hospital out of caution.
No other injuries were reported.
A portion of the roof of the business collapsed as a result of the fire, Rucker said, and both buildings are considered uninhabitable and will be boarded up. No one was in the business building at the time of the fire
Only one resident was in the home at the time of the fire, and she was evacuated safely, according to Rucker. The Red Cross was called in to assist with housing.
Crews were still working to extinguish any remaining hotspots or flames late Wednesday morning.
A GoFundMe for the business was started Wednesday morning. The fundraiser says the business building is comprised of seven East African “micro-businesses,” including a store featuring Oromo cultural goods (Ayantu LLC) as well as a “long-standing Cedar Avenue tax and immigrants service” (Safari Tax and Immigration).
The GoFundMe added that the businesses don’t have insurance and the funds raised will go toward income replacement, relocation assistance and more.
“I started already filing taxes and now it’s just, I feel so bad,” Ayub Genemo, Safari Income Tax and Immigration Services owner, said. “I guess it’s a sad day for me.”
Genemo should be buried in filing people’s taxes but instead, he’s looking for a new home for his business.
“I help a lot of refugees from around the world and people who arrived here illegally in the ask for asylum,” he said. “I also support and help them settling their problems and I also do tax returns.”
Right before tax season, those important files were burned.
His business is one of six housed in the blue building that went up in flames.
Nearby business owners heard about the fire near a popular strip of stores and rushed over hoping the damage didn’t spread further.
“The good thing is nobody was hurt,” Enuye Faneta, business owner, said.
Faneta said it’s tough to see this happen in her community.
“What I see is very sad. The whole roof is very damaged,” she said.
Now those affected are forced to start over.
“Allah holds the future for me,” Genemo said. “So I don’t know what tomorrow will come so I pray to Allah. I pray to God.”