The Hennepin County medical examiner’s office confirmed Monday that Mrimri Farah, 60, died in the New Year’s Day blast and fire that destroyed a building in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis.
Farah was one of two people whose bodies were found in the rubble of the building after the blast, and one of three who died. The other victims were Ahmed Farah Ali, 57, and Abdiquni Adan, 29, who died Friday at Hennepin County Medical Center.
At least 13 other people were injured, including several who jumped from windows in the three-story building at 516 Cedar Av. S. as the fire burned.
An investigation into the cause continues, the Minneapolis Fire Department said. The blast, around 8 a.m. on Jan. 1, tore apart a building that housed 10 apartments and a grocery on the street level.
Joe Mattison, secretary for Minneapolis Firefighters Local 82 and a captain based at Station 7 at 2000 Franklin Av., was among the first to arrive at the scene. He said Monday that firefighters couldn’t drive right up to the building because of debris in the street. They were concerned that injured people might be amid the debris, he said. When they arrived they could see people in the windows.
“When I rolled it in there, I saw a guy hanging from a window and then drop,” said Mattison. A firefighter jumped from the rig and grabbed a ladder before sprinting half a block to the building in an attempt to help others get to the street, Mattison said.
Soon there were three or four ladders propped up against the building to help people evacuate. Firefighters also searched the second and third floors of the building as it burned.
A Tuesday counseling session was made available to the firefighters, Mattison said. As of Monday evening, no one had signed up, he said, despite the graphic scene they encountered.
Mattison praised the Minneapolis Police Department and state troopers who arrived, saying they helped the injured so the firefighters could enter the building and search.