A 3-alarm fire which broke out on the 14th floor of a public housing high-rise in a heavily immigrant neighborhood of Minneapolis early Wednesday killed five people and injured three, according to reports.
FOX 9 reported that four of the victims were found on the 14th floor and pronounced dead on the scene; the fifth victim was found in a stairway and died in a hospital.
"It could have been a lot worse," City Councilman Abdi Warsame told FOX 9. "I commend the work of our first responders. Our fire chief did a great job...we're a tight-knit community here in Cedar-Riverside."
The neighborhood, as The Associated Press reported, is in part of Minneapolis known as Little Mogadishu for the many Somali immigrants who have settled there.
Of the 191 units in the building, approximately nine of them have been deemed uninhabitable because of fire or water damage, according to a spokesperson for the Minnesota Public Housing Authority.
Authorities said flames could be seen extending 10 to 15 feet from windows on the 14th floor.
Fire Chief John Fruetel said the fire had been burning for a while and had blown out windows by the time firefighters arrived.
With those open windows and winds whipping in from an overnight wintry storm, the scene was “an extreme environment of heat and wind-driven fire,” he said.
Firefighters were able to put out the fire in about 30 minutes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.