A fire on the 14th floor of a high-rise apartment building in Minneapolis killed five people and hospitalized three others on Wednesday morning. The fire broke out on the 14th floor of Cedar High Apartments in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. Cedar High Apartments is operated by the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) and is part of a complex for low-income residents known as “The Cedars.” Intended mainly for seniors or singles, the 191-unit building includes all one-bedroom or studio floor plans. Many of the residents are of Somali descent.

Four people found on the 14th floor were pronounced dead on the scene. A fifth victim found in the stairway died at the hospital. Three other people were taken to the hospital for treatment. A firefighter was treated for minor injuries. At least one of the victims who was seriously injured, Salad Samatar, remains in critical condition at HCMC.

Authorities say that all five victims died of smoke inhalation. Three of the five people who died were Somali Americans: Nadifa Mohamud (67), Amatalah Adam (79), and Maryan Mohamud (69). The fourth and fifth victims were identified as Jerome Stuart (59) and Tyler Scott Baron (32).

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

MPHA Cites Need for Sprinklers Months before Deadly Fire

Just months before the deadly fire at Cedar High Apartments, the MPHA noted a need for sprinklers in older high-rise apartment buildings. Cedar High was built in 1970 before there were state requirements for sprinkler systems in high-rise buildings. Because of the building’s age, Cedar High has sprinklers only on the main floor and in the lower mechanical equipment rooms. In a plan approved for September, the MPHA lists high-rise sprinklers as a future priority: “Additionally, as building codes have evolved, we need to address increased life/safety requirements such as retrofitting our highrise buildings with sprinkler systems.”

When asked if sprinklers could have prevented the deadly blaze at Cedar High, the Minneapolis Fire Chief said, “Sprinklers will always make a difference in a building.”

Tight-Knit Cedar-Riverside Community Grieves After Deadly Fire

Residents of the tight-knit Cedar-Riverside community gathered at Darul Quba Cultural Center last Friday to grieve the deaths of their family and friends. Many recall a similar tragedy on New Years Day in 2014 when an explosion and fire at an apartment building just three blocks away killed three people and injured several others.

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