Families of Cedar Ave. fire victims gather, receive support - KMSP-TV

Families of Cedar Ave. fire victims gather, receive support

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Ismael Adan receives assistance at the Brian Coyle Community Center Ismael Adan receives assistance at the Brian Coyle Community Center
Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges speaks to victims | Photo by Iris Perez Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges speaks to victims | Photo by Iris Perez
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

With the flames extinguished, family members affected by the Cedar Avenue apartment fire gathered at the Brian Coyle Community Center to get assistance and information on their loved ones.

When Ismael Adan learned his cousin had jumped from the apartment complex to escape the explosion and the flames tearing through the building, he was devastated.

"Initially, we cried and we felt really bad," Adan told Fox 9 News. "He told me that he jumped from the top into the street and he injured his hip and some other parts of his body."

Adan said he's not sure where his cousin jumped, but his apartment was on the third floor. Adan had been living there since 2002 with his brother, who was at work when the flames broke out. As for Adan himself, he was not inside at the time of the explosion because he had gone to visit his mother around 5 a.m.

"I don't know where to go," Adan told Fox 9 News via translator Abdirizak Bihi. "Maybe I'll go to my community and see who helps me."

The community is already rallying around victims like Adan. As word of the 3-alarm blaze spread, an outpouring of support for the victims opened up as quickly as the fire hoses. Inside the Brian Coyle Community Center, Adan received aid from the Red Cross; however, since many of the victims were injured and hospitalized, the community center closed at about 5 p.m.

At an afternoon press conference at the community center, mayor-elect Betsy Hodges shared a message of support for the victims.

"The city is behind them, and the whole city is praying for folks," she said. "We know the situation they face is a hard one, and they are not facing it alone. They have the city with them; they have us with them."

The apartment complex contained 10 apartment units, and 9 of them were occupied. Representatives say Adan and his brother were the only ones who were not inside when the fire broke out, and 14 people were taken to area hospitals. Of those, 11 were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center and 3 are at Fairview Riverside Hospital.

All of the hospitalized victims have been visited by Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak, Hodges and City Councilman-elect Abdi Warsame.

"It's not every day that you have two mayors with you and visiting your community," Warsame said.

Rybak told Fox 9 News the political envoy was geared to extending support, not determining the cause of the explosion, which remains unknown.

"We didn't want to interrogate people and hospital staff," he clarified. "We just wanted, on behalf of the three of us, to express our concern, our hope and our prayers."

As of 5 p.m., investigators had yet to enter the structure, saying it was simply too dangerous.

"This is going to take a while to uncover what happened," Rybak said.

Anyone with information about what may have caused the explosion and fire is asked to call the Minneapolis Arson Squad at 612-673-3389.

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