BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. - Four people were taken to the hospital and dozens of residents chased out into the cold following a a fire at an apartment in Brooklyn Park overnight Tuesday.
Crews were called to the Huntington Place Apartments on the 5800 block of 73rd Avenue North Brooklyn Park around 1 a.m. on reports of smoke and fire. Residents say they smelled heavy smoke and ran door to door, knocking and telling neighbors to evacuate.
"We smelled smoke, once we smelled the smoke, we were knocking on doors telling them to get out the building," recalled resident Robin Fletcher.
When they arrived firefighters found the third floor of the building fully involved. While one crew attacked the fire others began rescuing a number of residents who were trapped by the flames. Others took matters into their own hands.
"We seen some people jumping out the windows over in the area where the fire was, and there was a pregnant lady they had to get down with a ladder. It's like oh my goodness, it's just too much," said resident Brittney Leffridge.
Three people were injured by jumping out of windows or off balconies. The fourth cut his hand while retrieving a fire extinguisher. They were transported to North Memorial for treatment. No firefighters were injured.
Brooklyn Park Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Todd Seitz says his investigators are trying to determine whether the fire was intentionally set. "We had a couch that was in the hallway that somehow started the fire. That's what fire investigators are trying to find out. Was it an ashtray for a cigarette, or did someone set it on fire? So that's why its suspicious."
There were smoke detectors and an alarm system in place inside the building, but no sprinkler system.
The Red Cross is helping three families with shelter, food and clothing in the wake of the fire.
About the Injuries:
One of the four people that was injured tried to open the extinguisher and cut his hand. The other three people that were sent to the hospital suffered injuries because they jumped from the windows.
All non-life threatening.
Mainly "flame, smoke and heat damage." Probably 10-12 units were affected. Not all were occupied. "Hallways are damaged pretty significantly."