Christmas Day fire displaces more than 200 from overflow homeless shelter in Minneapolis

Christmas Day fire displaces more than 200 from overflow homeless shelter in Minneapolis
Firefighters battle a four-alarm fire at the Francis Drake Hotel apartments that broke out early Christmas Day morning. (David Joles/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — A four-alarm Christmas Day fire displaced hundreds of Minneapolis apartment dwellers, sending at least three to the hospital, multiple news outlets reported.

The fire, which began around 3 a.m., struck the three-story Francis Drake Hotel, designated as an overflow shelter in Hennepin County for families experiencing homelessness, KMSP reported.

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No fatalities were reported, and the three people injured are expected to recover, WCCO reported.

Fire Chief John Fruetel told KMSP it is unclear how many people were actually in the building at the time of the fire due to the holidays, but the building’s occupancy capacity is 250.

“We’re having a challenging time trying to account for everybody because we don’t know who’s gone for the holiday, so that’ll be a little challenging," Fruetel told KMSP.

According to WCCO, many of the families who lost everything in the blaze were allowed to ride Metro Transit buses to stay warm while authorities and volunteers determined how best to find new living spaces for those displaced.

Donations can be made to the Minnesota Red Cross, and the service organization is assisting those displaced by the fire by opening the doors of nearby Bethlehem Baptist Church for the next few nights to those seeking shelter, WCCO reported.