One person was taken to a hospital for smoke inhalation, said Minneapolis Fire Marshal Perry Ebner. What led to the fire starting has yet to be determined, Ebner said.
Sandra Golob, 70, who lived in a first-floor unit, was in satisfactory condition at Hennepin County Medical Center, said a hospital spokeswoman.
Firefighters were unleashing streams of water around the stucco-exterior building in an effort to keep flames from reaching neighboring structures, Ebner said.
When crews arrived, heavy fire was showing from the first and second floors. Firefighters initially attacked from inside the building, but as the flames grew, the crews were forced to leave and take up stations from the exterior.
The fire was contained to the building and was in no risk of spreading to neighboring structures, Ebner said.
Now, he added, "our concern is collapse. . . . We'll have to demolish the building by the day's end."
The eight-unit structure caught fire on the ground level and quickly overwhelmed every floor. At least seven fire trucks and more than three dozen firefighters were on the scene, where dozens of bystanders gathered to watch from the Lunds grocery parking lot.
The neighboring Dunn Bros coffee and Bruegger's bagel shops were evacuated as a precaution, and Lake Street was blocked in both directions for a couple of blocks.
First-floor resident Andrea Johnson said she heard the smoke alarms "right away."
"I grabbed my dog and kitty," Johnson said. But once outside, Johnson's cat ran back inside and "I couldn't grab him in time."
Fighting back sobs, Johnson said of Baby Boy, "I'm just so sad I lost him." She said she also lost her car parked in back to the fire.
Johnson, 47, lived there for 10 years and said "I loved it so much. It had beautiful woodwork inside."
Ben Garber, who moved into the building about a month ago, said, "I didn't have much time. It went fast."
Garber, 32, said he knocked on his roommate's door and warned him, "I think this is the real thing."
Written by Star Tribune