MINNEAPOLIS - The Cedar-Riverside community came together on Friday night to raise money for the survivors of the New Year's Day explosion and fire.
The event was sponsored by the Cedar Cultural Center, Augsburg College and WFAI radio.
An initial $20,000 to $25,000 that was raised to assist the victims displaced from the fire has been exhausted. Organizers hoped to raise an additional $10,000 on Friday.
"In every tragedy we have a culture in Minnesota, especially in this neighborhood, where people come together," said Abdirizak Bihi, Director of the Somali Education Center and organizer of the fundraising event. "So, a lot of community members, all diverse communities will come together to share the grief and also to raise some money for the victims."
Assistant Fire Chief Cherie Penn said the fire is still under investigation and there is no official cause as of yet. Bihi said the community is waiting and hoping they will get an answer soon.
"The West Bank, Cedar-Riverside Neighborhood has a very long history of the community working together," said Michael Rossetto, Marketing Director for the Cedar Cultural Center. "You know, there's a number of local community-run businesses here, a lot of nonprofits in the neighborhood."
Bihi said he believes there are still two victims hospitalized at the Hennepin County Medical Center. He said priority "No. 1" is housing for those displaced by the blaze. The ground-floor mosque in the three-story building was damaged and services are being held at the nearby Brian Coyle Center.
Palmer's bar, which hosted some of the victims immediately after the fire, was closed for five days because of fears about the safety of the adjoining building. The bar has since reopened.
Another fundraiser for the victims is planned for Saturday night at the Seward Church.