Home Fire News Hotel turned homeless shelter destroyed during Christmas day fire

Hotel turned homeless shelter destroyed during Christmas day fire

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Kate Feldman
New York Daily News

Hundreds of people were left in the cold early Christmas morning after a four-alarm blaze ripped through the Francis Drake Hotel in Minneapolis.

The Minneapolis Fire Department responded to the apartment, which is used as temporary housing for the homeless, around 3 a.m. Wednesday and began evacuating almost 250 people from inside the three-story building, according to the Star Tribune.

As the flames grew and smoke grew thicker, fire crews were forced to leave the building and fight the blaze from the outside.

The fire has still not been put out entirely.

Three people were hospitalized with injuries and Metro Transit buses were brought in for temporary shelter against the cold.

“We’re having a challenging time trying to account for everybody because we don’t know who’s gone for the holiday so that’ll be a little challenging,” Fire Chief John Fruetel told reporters.



Some residents said they weren’t sure if the alarm was real after a test last week.

“I told my wife we’ve got to get out now,” resident Jason Vandenboom told MPR News. “I mean I didn’t even grab my wallet. Because there was smoke in the hallway already starting to come through the building. And there were a lot of people, it was pretty chaotic. But it was fairly organized chaos, people were pretty calm walking out. I think we got everyone out.”

The cause of the fire is unknown and under investigation.

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