An explosion and fire at a Minneapolis apartment building on New Year's Day injured 13 people, six of them critically.
Paramedics were at the scene within minutes treating the injured amid sub-zero temperatures before removing the 13 individuals to two area hospitals, the Associated Press reported
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In addition to burn victims, a number of peoplesuffered trauma associated with falls, with some either jumping out from a window to escape the flames or propelled out due to the blast itself.
"It's not clear whether people were pushed out of the building from the explosion or whether they fell or jumped out of windows to escape," Robert Ball, a spokesman for Hennepin County Emergency Medical Services, told the AP.
The injuries suggested that at least some of the victims likely fell multiple stories before hitting the pavement below, Ball added.
There were no apparent signs of a gas leak at the building and officials have yet to release a cause of the fire.
Fire fighters had yet to give the building a full sweep and were unable to rule out the possibility of additional victims inside. A partially collapsed roof has made the premises unsafe, according to Assistant Minneapolis Fire Chief Cherie Penn.
In addition to the flames, the sub-zero temperatures at the scene were an added concern for the 55 fire fighters who responded to the fire.
"While heat-related illnesses are common for firefighters, now you combine that with the rapid onset of frostbite or hypothermia when they come out and they're wet and exposed to bitter cold temperatures," Penn said.
The fire was contained by 11:30 a.m., resulting in an ice-covered, hallowed out building.
"This is bad," Abdikadir Mohamed, whose uncle owns the grocery store below the fire, told the AP as he watched fire fighters put out the blaze.
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The fire took place next to a building that contained a mosque, which reportedly sustained structural damage as a result of the flames.
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