Building explosion in Minneapolis injures 13

At least 13 people were injured, six critically, following a building explosion and fire Wednesday, authorities said.

"This is a tragic morning for the city of Minneapolis," Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges said.

Robert Ball of Hennepin County EMS said 13 people were taken to local hospitals. He described the injuries as ranging from burns to trauma suffered when falling or jumping from windows.

The main floor of the structure houses the Otanga Grocery, with the upper two floors consisting of apartments.

Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel said that victims were already outside the building and flames were pouring from the second and third floors when crews arrived. Fruetel said firefighters entered the first floor but were quickly forced to retreat when conditions became unsafe. The second and third floors of the structure collapsed soon afterward, he said.

Fruetel said frigid weather conditions made it both challenging and dangerous for crews trying to put down the blaze. Firefighters swarmed the scene after the call was elevated to three alarms.

Residents were being interviewed as authorities tried to determine if anyone is unaccounted for. Fruetel said it's unclear whether everyone had been evacuated because it remained too dangerous for firefighters to search the premises.

The injured were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center and University Hospital.


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