Man dies in St. Louis Park fire

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 13, 2009 - 10:49 PM
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Roseville firefighters watched for flare-ups after a fire early Friday damaged one of the Autumn Woods apartment buildings in St. Anthony. The blaze began after 7 a.m. in a third-floor apartment, said caretaker Myrna Johnson.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

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One man died in a Friday afternoon fire in St. Louis Park.

Firefighters were called to a small house in the 4100 block of Alabama Avenue shortly after 1 p.m. when a neighbor called 911 to report smoke and flames coming from the structure, said St. Louis Park spokesman Jamie Zwilling.

Crews from St. Louis Park, Hopkins and Edina found a man lying in a first-floor bedroom. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His name and age have not been released, and Zwilling said a cause of death has not been determined.

The fire is believed to have begun in the back of the house, near a kitchen area. It took crews about three hours to extinguish the fire, which remains under investigation, Zwilling said.

Earlier Friday, about 125 residents of a St. Anthony apartment building were forced out of their homes by flames.

A half-dozen fire departments responded to the blaze, which was reported about 7:15 a.m. and brought under control shortly after 8:30 a.m.

None of the residents was injured. "It's a good feeling for us," St. Anthony Fire Chief John Malenick said. "It worked the way it's supposed to."

One firefighter slipped on ice and suffered a minor injury, he said.

The exact cause hadn't been determined Friday afternoon, officials said. St. Anthony Assistant Fire Chief Don Drusch said a Hennepin County fire investigation team determined that it was an accidental fire that started in a furnace area of the Autumn Woods apartment complex east of Stinson Boulevard and south of Kenzie Terrace.

The fire began in a third-floor apartment, said caretaker Myrna Johnson.

It spread to two other apartments, which were also burned. About a dozen apartments in the 76-unit building were damaged by water, Malenick said.

Electricity and natural gas service to the building were cut off; officials weren't sure when residents might be able to return. The Red Cross was helping provide residents with temporary shelter.

PAUL WALSH, PAM LOUWAGIE and ABBY SIMONS

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