MINNEAPOLIS (RNN) - As many as 14 people have been injured, six critically, after a three-story residential building explosion and fire in Minneapolis Wednesday morning.
According to Fire Chief John Fruetel, there may still be people inside the building. Fruetel said not everyone has been accounted for.
A Somali community advocate told TV station KARE that three people are unaccounted for.
The first floor contained a grocery store, the second and third floors were made up of 10 apartments, nine of which "would have been occupied at the time," Fruetel said.
Emergency crews responded to the scene around 8:30 a.m.
EMS worker Robert Ball told KARE the injuries were described as ranging from burns to trauma suffered while falling or jumping from windows.
"Most of the injuries that we've been seeing so far are a combination of burns from the fire and some trauma from people that came out from the windows, at this time we're not certain whether they had fallen, jumped or were pushed out due to the fire and explosion," Ball said.
Freezing weather in the city presented challenges for firefighters, since water used to try to put out the fire can quickly turn to ice.
"We deal with this all year, every year. But I can tell you that it does make the job a lot more difficult for the firefighters working in this because, of course, the best way to put out a fire usually is water and water in sub zero temperatures makes ice and all of the sudden it's very dangerous for personnel working on a fire ground," Ball said.
The building was destroyed, with the roof and the second and third floors collapsing, Fruetel said in a news conference.
The American Red Cross is reaching out to survivors to provide help.
In a statement, Governor Mark Dayton said: "On behalf of all Minnesotans, I extend my deepest sympathies to the victims of today's awful fire in Minneapolis and to their families and friends. We hope and pray for your swift and complete recoveries. I also want to thank the State Troopers, Minneapolis Police Officers, Firefighters, and other First Responders, who endangered themselves to save the lives of those engulfed by this terrible tragedy."
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