Fire Walls Slow Minnesota Apartment Blaze

St. Anthony firefighters were dispatched to an automatic fire alarm and found fire through the roof when the arrived.


A Minnesota chief says that fire stops in the attic of an apartment building help slow the spread of fire on Friday morning.

St. Anthony firefighters were dispatched to an automatic fire alarm at 7252 Kinzie Street at 7:10 a.m. As units were responding, additional calls were received reporting smoke int he building and fire from the window.

The Hennepin County dispatcher iniatiated the automatic aid for ladder trucks from Columbia Heights and Fridley Fire Departments.

According to Assistant Chief Don Drusch, the first unit to arrive, Engine 11, found fire from the roof of the three-story apartment building. They hooked to the standpipe with 2 1/2-inch lines as crews carried hose bundles inside. As firefighters entered the building, several residents were still evacuating.

Drusch said the crew stretched a 1 3/4-inch line from the standpipe to the fire apartment in the middle of the building. After forcing entry, they were met with heavy fire inside the apartment.

Mutual aid was then requested from the Roseville Fire Department for a ladder truck to the scene.

Firefighter continued an interior attack, but heavy fire consumed the apartment and the attic area. When the ladder trucks from Columbia Heights and Roseville were set up, units went to exterior operations as they doused the flames from the ladder pipes. Both flowed water into the center of the building as heavy fire shot from the attic area.

There were two fire walls in the attic, one adjacent to the fire apartment and the other was two units away, Drusch said. "The stops helped contain the fire," he said, noting that the fire only partially burned through one of the walls.

When the ladder truck arrived from Fridley, they set up behind the Roseville ladder truck. They utilized a camera to provide ground crews with a birds-eye view of the fire area.

Additional assistance arrived from Minneapolis, who provided two engines and a ladder.

Once the heavy fire was knocked down, crews reentered the building to knock down hotspots with several hoselines.

The fire was placed under control at 8:33 a.m. In all, three of the building's 76 units were were gutted by the fire and 12 others were damaged by smoke and water.

A crew from New Brighton was called to cover the station and later responded to help crews at the scene.

Drusch estimates that 40 firefighters worked on the scene of the fire. One firefighter suffered minor injuries after falling on the ice.

The fire started in the area of the unit's furnace, according to Drusch, and he said it was considered accidental.

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