Cedar Ave. explosion victims share their stories - KMSP-TV

Cedar Ave. explosion victims share their stories

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Speaking from his HCMC hospital bed, Hersi Hassan says the Cedar Avenue explosion left him with nothing. Photo by Tom Lyden / FOX 9 News. Speaking from his HCMC hospital bed, Hersi Hassan says the Cedar Avenue explosion left him with nothing. Photo by Tom Lyden / FOX 9 News.
Abdi Quobey said the explosion took out an entire wall. Photo by Tom Lyden / FOX 9 News Abdi Quobey said the explosion took out an entire wall. Photo by Tom Lyden / FOX 9 News
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

Abdi Quobey was up early for prayer on New Year's Day when all hell broke loose. Without warning, an explosion began to disintegrate his second-floor apartment on Cedar Avenue.

Quobey walked down the hallway, where he found two men on fire.

"I saw there was no hope to stay in the place," he said. "I jumped to the concrete."

Hersi Hassan also jumped from the second floor, along with his two sisters – all have broken legs. Hassan also has frostbite on his bottom, from waiting on the freezing asphalt for help to arrive.

And they're the lucky ones.

Three men are still in critical condition at Hennepin County Medical Center, where catastrophic burns are complicating other traumatic injuries.

"Given images I've seen, I'm surprised there aren't more injuries to be honest with you," Dr. Ryan Frey said.

Friday morning, a second body was removed from the debris. The Hennepin County medical examiner identified Ahmed Ali as the victim recovered from the building Thursday. Family members say his roommate, Mrimri Farah, was the other victim unaccounted for.

STARTING OVER

It was a close-knit community among the men living there, with most escaping civil war in Somalia.

Abdi Quobey came to America 18 years ago with just the clothes on his back. He will turn 60 next month, and all he has left is his jacket, marked with burns.

They're all starting over, with nothing.

"My sister's broke, we don't have money, we don't have a home, we don't have anything," Hassan said.

HOW TO HELP

The Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota launched a disaster relief fund Thursday for victims and families.

Donate online at https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/csc-mn and visit http://www.csc-mn.org for more information or contact the Confederation at (612) 605-3222.

The Cedar Cultural Center is also working with Augsburg College to host a benefit concert for the fire victims that will take place on Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.

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