Second body found in fire-gutted Minneapolis apartment building

Jan. 3, 2014 at 4:12 PM
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MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- A second body was found in the ruins of a Minneapolis apartment building gutted on New Year's Day by an explosion and fire, officials confirmed Friday.

The body was located Friday, a day after the body of the first victim was found. Prior to their discovery Fire Chief John Fruetel said two residents of the building, which housed a grocery store and immigrants from Somalia in 10 apartments, had not been accounted for.

At least 14 people were injured, six critically, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Family members identified the two unaccounted men as Mrimri Farah, about 60, and Ahmad Ali, 57, who shared an apartment.

Farah served in the U.S. army and was stationed in Iraq, a friend, Shareef Hassan, said.

Witnesses heard an explosion in the three-story building, built in 1886, Wednesday morning, followed by the fire. Fruetel said no cause had been determined but witness descriptions of the blast suggested a natural gas explosion.

"We had no natural gas in the area," said Rebecca Virden, spokeswoman for CenterPoint energy, the utility company. She added if the blast was due to a natural gas explosion, "The roof would come off, the walls would come out." If gas were involved, she suggested, "It could be a different type of gas."

Many of the injured jumped from windows to escape, and three remained in critical condition Friday, Hennepin County Medical Center said.

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