The fire lawyers at Pritzker Hageman filed a lawsuit against Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) for victims of an apartment fire that broke out at Cedar High Apartments over a year ago. Our legal team is representing the families of two people who died in the fire.
On November 27, 2019, which was the day before Thanksgiving that year, a devastating fire started on the 14th floor of the high-rise apartment building located at 630 Cedar Avenue. Minnesota State Fire Marshall Jim Smith told the Star Tribune that the conditions were more severe than what the majority of firefighters will ever see in their career. The fire caused the deaths of five people and injured at least four others.
Operated by MPHA, Cedar High Apartments houses about 200 people, the majority of whom are seniors and people with disabilities. Built in 1970, the 26-story high rise did not have sprinklers, which became a requirement for high-rise buildings in 1980. According to an 18-page report released by the Minnesota Department of Safety’s Fire Marshall Division (SFMD), the victims would still be alive if the building had been protected by fire sprinklers. A lack of sprinklers, along with several other factors, contributed to the spread of the fire that caused the preventable deaths of five people. The MPHA failed to operate and maintain the building in compliance with state and local codes through the following negligent acts.
- Failure to ensure doors were self-closing
- A fire alarm system without adequate audibility
- Elevator shafts and stairwells that were not pressurized to prevent smoke and toxic gasses from spreading throughout the building
MPHA says there are plans to install complete sprinkler systems in all MPHA-operated high-rise buildings within 10 years given sufficient funding from the government. The MPHA lists $150 million in unmet needs” for essential repairs and updates to its 6,000 public housing units.