Minneapolis Orders Partial Demolition of Fire-Gutted Shelter

December 30, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis officials on Thursday ordered the partial demolition of a downtown homeless shelter heavily damaged by a Christmas Day fire.

The city used its emergency authority to order demolition of part of the Francis Drake Hotel for safety reasons. Crews brought the fire under control about midday Thursday, 30 hours after it broke out.

About 120 people — half of them children — evacuated from the Drake on Wednesday spent the night at Bethlehem Baptist Church. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz talked to displaced residents and said persistent homelessness and the issue of housing “become starkly real here.”

“We knew it was out there. It’s always around us. But a lot of times, without these tragedies, it may not come home to people the same way,” Walz said.

Three people were injured in the fire and taken to HCMC.

The cause of the fire was unknown. Investigators from the city and the State Fire Marshal’s office finished their on-scene work just before 1 p.m. Thursday, the Star Tribune reported. Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel said he expects investigators to release a formal report in a few days.

Firefighters will continue to monitor the building for any hot spots.

Assistant Minneapolis Fire Chief Bryan Tyner said the building had fire alarms, which appeared to have been working.

The Francis Drake Hotel apartment building mostly serves as temporary housing for homeless people.

The hotel was built in 1926 as a luxury hotel with 146 rooms. Hennepin County converted it to temporary housing for when there’s no room at other homeless shelters.

About the photo: Minneapolis firefighters continue putting water on the Francis Drake Hotel apartments Thursday, a day after a Christmas Day fire at the Drake, where more than 200 people were displaced, in Minneapolis. (David Joles/Star Tribune via AP)

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.