This has been a shocking and sad day for MPHA, with a high-rise fire that has taken five lives. MPHA is thankful to all of the community members who offered support, food, counseling, and other resources on this difficult day. We can report at day’s end that MPHA has provided immediate housing for any families displaced by the event.

The MFD, MPHA, and others updated the media on-site in the early afternoon. Here is our statement from the afternoon’s press briefing, from MPHA Interim Executive Director Tracey Scott:

Everyone at MPHA is grieving over the tragic fire here early this morning. We are focused on assisting the families of the victims and helping the community here at the Cedars through a terribly difficult time. In the days to come, we will be working closely with the Minneapolis fire department to learn everything we can about what happened.

This event is unprecedented in MPHA’s history. There are not words to express our sense of loss for the residents that our staff see every day. We consider them friends, and care for them deeply. We also have in our thoughts the firefighter who was injured in the course of duty this morning, and express our gratitude for all of the first responders.

We have 191 apartments in this 25-story building. We are grateful that most of them were not affected and residents have returned to their homes. We have to await the results of investigations to understand the cause of the fire.

We have determined that a very limited number of units are uninhabitable because of the fire or water damage. At this time, we estimate fewer than 10 households are temporarily displaced, and MPHA is able to accommodate all of them in units that MPHA has immediately available.

I want to thank the MPHA Board of Commissioners, Council Member Warsame, and Representative Noor for their work today comforting and coordinating with residents. I have been in touch today with Mayor Frey – he is unable to join us today, but representatives of his office are here and we are glad for their support, along with the city’s department of Community Planning and Economic Development.