SURVIVAL STORY: Head-first jump from Minneapolis 8-plex fire - New York News

SURVIVAL STORY: Head-first jump from Minneapolis 8-plex fire

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

There were some incredible stories of survival and escape after a weekend fire in a large Minneapolis 8-plex apartment building.

Incredibly, no one was killed, but more than a half-dozen residents were injured -- some from jumping out of windows.

"It was chaos," fire victim Michael Williams said. "People were crying and hollering. See people jumping out window with mattresses."

The terrifying moments are stuck in his head.

"We couldn't get out," Williams said. "e couldn't open the door. To be honest with you, I thought we were going to die. I couldn't breathe no more."

With fire spreading through the basement of the nearly 115-year-old building, Williams believed he and his wife Angela had only seconds to escape.

"It was scary," she said. "Dark. You couldn't see nothing. As soon as I came out of the room, we were both about to pass out."

The narrow hallway was filled completely with smoke, so Williams tried to smash out their first floor window. He couldn't do it with just his arm., so he built up a head of steam leading with his forehead and shoulder.

"I just went back and dove," he said.

Williams would crash through the glass, landing headfirst on the snow-covered concrete. He suffered a nasty gash above his eye, a fractured arm and a bruised spinal cord that has left him bed-ridden. He's scared that he might not be able to walk again.

"My mind said use your head, so I used my head," Williams said. "I'm paying for it now -- wish I wouldn't have done it. But thank God, he gave me a hard head."

Williams' shattered window is now boarded up. Incredibly he thinks his cat Butter alerted him to the danger in the basement.

"He was acting funny, going around in circles," Williams said. "He must have smelled it. I didn't smell the smoke."

With a long road of recovery ahead, Michael Williams doesn't know what comes next for him and his wife. They have very little money and their home is boarded up and in need of significant repairs. But the most important thing is they still have each other.

"I think my head saved me and my wife," he said.

Investigators are still trying to determine a cause of the fire. Arson hotline posters were plastered on the Aldrich Ave. N. building in hopes that someone in the neighborhood might come forward with information.

 

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