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Family initially believed 84-year-old father died in high-rise fire only to learn he survived

Updated: December 04, 2019 06:09 PM

Inside a hospital room at Hennepin County Medical Center, the family of Salad Samatar checks on their father who was rescued by Minneapolis firefighters from a high-rise fire in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.

Samatar told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that he is doing “much better” through his son who translated for the 84-year-old man.

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He lived on the 14th floor that caught fire last Wednesday morning that killed five of his neighbors and injured two other residents.

Samatar told his family he recalled the smoke coming in his room and then the firefighters rescuing him as he was overcome by the smoke that filled the halls.

Deadly fire at Minneapolis high-rise ruled accidental, cause unknown

"To be honest with you it's been painful,” said Jabarti Warsame, one of Samatar’s sons describing the emotions they’ve experienced in the last week.

Warsame told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the family rushed to the hospital after learning of the fire at the complex where their father lived for more than a decade.

"I've been told he's dead,” said Warsame after he visited the fire scene.

Along with brother Nur Abdullahi, they kept asking hospital staff to find their father in those early morning hours.

Abdullahi said an HCMC nurse asked if they had a picture of their father so she could check the floor with the fire victims.

'Very tragic night': 5 dead, 3 hospitalized after Minneapolis high-rise apartment fire

"I gave her the picture, she says 'okay, give me the phone I'll come back,' she went upstairs and came back said 'he's alive,'" said Abdullahi.

"That lady was so amazing, I don't remember her name... when she said he's alive," Abdullahi said.

The Minneapolis family sat by their father's bedside for three days until he woke up from a coma.

“Things may change forever," said Warsame who said his father’s fight to survive inspires the family.

Funerals held for two victims in Minneapolis high-rise fire

After the 84-year-old is cleared from the hospital the family expects he’ll need a rehabilitation center to aid with his care.

The deadly fire was ruled accidental by the Minneapolis Fire Department but the cause remains undetermined.

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Credits

Eric Chaloux

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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