Four Somali people and a white person were killed on Wednesday after fire catch the 14th floor of a Minneapolis public housing high rise.

According to US media, the fire broke out around 4 a.m injured three other people who admitted in a hospital.

Fire Chief John Fruetel told reporters that investigators believe the fire was an accident, but he didn’t explain why. The building is in part of Minneapolis known as Little Mogadishu for the many Somali immigrants who have settled there.

Fruetel said firefighters found heavy smoke on the 16th and 17th floors as residents were evacuated through the stairwells.

He said the fire had been burning for a while and had blown out windows by the time firefighters arrived.

“I can’t express more about how precarious that scenario was to those firefighters,” Fruetel said. “They encountered a lot of heat … It was very similar to a blast furnace.”

Abdi Warsame, a City Council member who toured the floor that burned, expressed amazement that more people weren’t killed. The 25-story building caters to seniors and singles. “It was absolutely gutted,” said Warsame. “It was horrendous.”

Abdirizak Bihi, a community leader said he was told by police that the victims were three women and two men. Four of them were older Somali-Americans, while the fifth was a younger white man.


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