A Minneapolis explosion has left 13 seriously hurt at the start of the New Year, following a city building suddenly catching fire. The cause of the blaze remains unconfirmed at this point in time, and police are currently looking into whether all occupants were able to escape the burning apartment and grocery store complex. ABC News shares the details on this breaking headline this Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014.
The Minneapolis explosion was said to occur early this morning, shortly after 8 a.m. It was local Fire Chief John Fruetel who stated that a tremendous explosion was soon followed by a fire in the building, with a majority of the blaze being contained within the second and third floors. Fire fighter and volunteer crews worked to help victims escape, though 13 at this time have been rushed to local medical centers for a range of injuries.
"Upon arrival crews made entry into the first floor of this structure," Fruetel announced. "Conditions became untenable very quickly, with major fires coming out of the second and third floors. Crews had to back out and go into defensive position outside of the building, applying water."
Several victims are reported to have been hurt not from the Minneapolis explosion or flames themselves, but from leaping out of open windows in a desperate attempt to escape, added local news stations. While a gas leak has been speculated as a possible source of the blaze, the exact cause of the massive fire has not yet been confirmed.
At least 13 individuals have been hospitalized, while six people have been critically wounded due to burn injuries, adds the report. Ten apartments housing families were located on the combined second and third floors of the building complex.
"Not everybody has been accounted for in this building," Fruetel said. "It is possible that some are still inside."
Despite the intense heat of the flames inside the building, the city temperature at the time of the Minneapolis explosion was cited at a low of -1 degree Fahrenheit. Several captured photos and videos of the frightening scene reveal firefighters attempting to douse the rising flames and escort victims out into safety, despite the cold weather.
"The grocery store and apartments above have been damaged. And I think there is some damage to a [nearby] mosque," noted one witness. "This whole area is very significant to the community."