MINNEAPOLIS – A fast fire broke out early on Wednesday in the Francis Dragons Hotel in Minneapolis’s center and has transferred over 200 residents from an outdated, one-time sumptuous apartment building that is now mostly serving as temporary housing for homeless.
At least two people were admitted to the hospital with unspecified but non-critical injuries, fire officials said. Several others were treated on the scene.
Firefighters responded to the call in approximately 03:00 and began to vacate residents from the building near South 5th Avenue and 10th Street. The flames began at the back of the second floor and then climbed to the top floor of the tri-depth building before spreading to the attic and through the roof, officials said.
The building, which serves as temporary housing when the primary shelters in Hennepin County is full, can house up to 250 people, but the authorities said that it is not immediately clear how much there was inside when the flames broke out.
The Dragons were built in 1926 as a luxury hotel, and had 146 rooms. Like other buildings of size and age, it does not have to have sprinklers.
At five hours the fire went to four alarms. Smoking was substantial and engulfed the area around the building and it could breathe difficult. The high humidity and the temperature above-freezing have surrounded much of the city center in a strange fog.
The flames, of which the cause is still under investigation, barely originated a month after the Dankseggingsweek’s fire at a high building in Minneapolis in the Cedar-Riverside area that killed five people, wounded four and displaced dozens.
While hundreds of helpful residents, some of whom could only collect a few of their belongings before they fled, sought out new shelter and officials of the city, and complete strangers who took them to help them, mayor Jacob Frey stood outside of the Dragons and struggled to contain his emotions.
‘ These are real people who need a roof over their head needing help, ‘ ‘ he said. ‘ And of all the buildings in all the city now have to go up in flames.
‘ The only word that truly came up with me is heartbreaking, ‘ said Frey, while John Fruetel, chief fire of Minneapolis, stands. ‘ It is people’s lives. It’s their home. They’re concerned about everything, from a wallet or a telephone, so they can connect with a loved man by Christmas, where their baby is going to get formula. ”
Fruetel said that firefighters contain fire on the eastern half of the structure where it began, but when the flames reached the loft, it spread all over the building. ‘ We worked tirelessly… To try to save what we could from the possessions of these people who are so tragically affected, ‘ he said.
While firefighters continue to make the flames disappear, the current unasked donations have been picked up. People wore bags of clothing, diapers with diapers and sanitary products.
And the Red Cross was soon on the scene, and handed out blankets and coffee. Hot dogs, potato chips and pop were available. The toast had arrived and handed out food, water and infant.
Four with-transit double-length buses are parked in the neighborhood with residents curled up in blankets. As a result of severe smoking, the buses were later moved to South 9th Street.
Late the morning, when the news spread over the fire, the citizens with suitcases and duddling bags began to donate full of boots and clothing. One woman brought a bag of apples, and others brought boards of cold cheese and cheese and containers with hot pasta.
Lesley Evans (20), a Dragons resident, said that she and her three children, between the ages of 1, 2 and 5, slept in their room on the second floor, to the courtyard in the U-shaped shelter, when she heard shouting and someone shouted: ‘ Fire! ‘
She saw through the window watching and flames, so she called 911. She touched the door of her apartment with the back of her hand, opened it and closed it up quickly. ‘ It was too smokish for me and the children to come out, ‘ she said.
Evans remained on the telephone with the 911 operator, which made her grab with a towel, watered it and put them in a cupboard. But she said it was smokish, which forced the family of four to go into the bathroom.
Continue to receive directions on the phone, Evans grabbed a sheet from the bed, it runs under water in the bathroom and lies it at the bottom of the door.
‘ I tried to stay positive and say to my son: ‘ No, we aren’t going to die, ‘ ‘ she said.
She sent an SMS to her mother, who lives in Brooklyn Center,, ‘ I sent her an SMS, ‘ I can’t breathe. I’m trapped in a room. There’s a fire, ‘ ‘ said Evans.
Evans said she was 30 minutes with her children in the room before hearing the firefighters at her door.
They came outside, Evans just wearing a T-shirt, boots and underwear. She said her 5-year-old son was in his boxing pants, a jacket and boots. Her 1-year-old son only wears a diaper.
Other inhabitants of the shelter gave her boots and a coat. According to Evans her mother took her two older children home, while the father of her 1-year-old daughter had taken her.
‘ We lost everything. My children have no clothes, ‘ she says.
Aliyah Ross and Jamal Jones, both 20, and their baby was in a room on the third floor on the east of the U-shaped dragons.
Both said they ignored the alarm when they first heard it, and thought it was a test. When the alarm was constantly beeping, Jones said that he went to the receiving desk and understood that it was true, and he ran back to fetch Ross and the baby.
‘ We wouldn’t seize the baby if it wasn’t a real alarm, ‘ said Jones.
But within a few hours, Ross says, approximately 17 children socialise with the baby in a large portable toilet near the building until the buses arrived.
Shaii Jones (26) was on the shelter with her daughters of 12 and 5 years.
Early the morning, she said, she heard the alarm and know immediately to go out. ‘ I’ve been through a fire, ‘ she said.
She called a friend who lives in the north of Minneapolis to fetch her daughters. ‘ I don’t want my kids to go crazy. I don’t want my kids to go through the trauma of a fire, ‘ she said.
Jones said she came to Minnesota two months ago from Fort Worth, Texas. ‘ My daughter wanted to build a snowman on her birthday, ‘ she says.
She watched as grey smoke at the top of the building roll out. Volunteers handed out cookies and bananas.
“They do what they can to get fed us, but we literally look at how our lives are burning,” Jones said.