3 people hospitalized after apartment fire in south Minneapolis overnight

3 people hospitalized after apartment fire in South Minneapolis

3 people hospitalized after apartment fire in South Minneapolis

Three people are recovering at the hospital after an apartment fire in south Minneapolis broke out Tuesday night.

Two of those people were rescued from a balcony, and another was found in a smoky hallway, according to Minneapolis Assistant Fire Chief Melanie Rucker. They are all expected to be okay.

Dozens of people are displaced and one cat is dead, according to authorities.

Firefighters say they responded to the corner of Lyndale Avenue South and West 61st Street at the Woodhaven Apartments just before 10:30 Tuesday night. Fire crews saw flames coming from two balconies on the first and second floor. Flames then spread to the third floor, gutting multiple units.

A car in the apartment parking lot near the balconies was also engulfed in flames.

The apartment building is equipped with standpipes instead of a sprinkler system, but firefighters said those stand pipes were not working properly at the time of the fire and couldn’t be used.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to Woodhaven Apartments property management company, Centerspace, and received the following statement:

We are saddened by the fire event which has displaced the residents of approximately 30 apartment homes, and our priority has been to ensure alternative arrangements for any individuals who were impacted by this incident.  

We are diligent in ensuring compliance with all applicable codes and regulations.  Each building at Woodhaven Apartments complies with the fire safety codes under which the property was constructed. In addition, the property completed its one-year and five-year inspection of fire prevention systems, including the standpipes, on January 27 of this year and all testing was successful.

We are still in the process of assessing the damage and will keep our residents’ best interests at the forefront of our minds when determining our next steps.

A 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS camera captured footage of firefighters rescuing people from an apartment balcony.

“We did have to call in a third alarm,” Minneapolis Assistant Fire Chief Melanie Rucker said. “So there has been extra personnel and equipment that were dispatched because of the large amount of fire and as well as the large amount of constituents that needed extra assistance in the building to evacuate. This is a very large building.”

Assistant Fire Chief Rucker added that heavy smoke filled the hallways and prevented people from escaping. There were also multiple people with disabilities who needed help evacuating the building.

One firefighter reportedly dislocated a thumb while putting out the flames and getting others to safety. Three others were medically evaluated for overexertion. About 35 to 40 firefighters responded to the fire, according to the department. The flames were extinguished after several hours.

About 25 to 30 apartments are declared unlivable as of Wednesday morning. Firefighters say people who do not live in the southeast part of the building damaged by the fire can now return to their homes.

The Red Cross is working to help those who have nowhere else to go. A city bus was also at the scene of the fire to provide shelter for the people displaced by the fire.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS will update this story as more information becomes available.