Fire chief, CenterPoint Energy clash over natural gas as cause of Cedar-Riverside blast

  • Article by: Steve Brandt, Randy Furst and Paul Walsh , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: January 3, 2014 - 10:22 AM

As the investigation began into how the fire started, one body was found in the rubble of the Cedar-Riverside building.

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cunderwood4Jan. 2, 14 9:13 PM

I am guessing that the Masjid Dar Al-Hijrah will not accept the offer from Jewish synagogue Shir Tikvah to use the synagogue space while the mosque rebuilds, simply because the two places are geographically fairly far apart, but the offer warms my heart. In these days of stereotyping and strife, particularly between Israel and Palestine, it is the very best thing to come out of this horrible tragedy. It doesn't surprise me,however. Although I am a Quaker, and neither Muslim nor Jew, I have known many Shir Tikvah members for years and I have seen the generosity and love that comes from that place, a credit to any religious gathering. May these seeds of love flourish between the mosque and the synagogue, no matter what comes from this particular offer.

liberallymnJan. 2, 14 9:50 PM

Sounds like it was gas, but likely propane gas used to fire up a propane heater. Didn't the fire department require the property owner to have fire alarms and sprinkler systems installed? This seems like it should fall on the shoulders of the Minneapolis Fire Department. Just because the people in the neighborhood look different and speak different than others in Minnesota doesn't mean the fire department should neglect their responsibilities when inspecting and licensing these rental properties. BTW...who's the landlord, and why isn't he/she being interviewed?

jim2011beamJan. 2, 14 9:51 PM

It's not too hard to imagine some sort of makeshift propane heater in the building to add extra heat on these cold winter days. It will be interesting to hear what the investigators conclude about this fire.

mandansmomJan. 2, 1410:43 PM


If you've been following the story, you'd know the building has been inspected several times, including by the MFD, and most recently passed without any issues. I can't find the landlord's name, but he's been identified and quoted in several articles over the past day, and he's heartbroken. Tragic stuff happens in life, for no good reason. Good people, like the neighbors at Cedar Riverside and the Mpls Fire Fighters step up and do what's right. Please don't beschmirk their efforts with a witch hunt.

DufferHJan. 2, 1411:53 PM

Before suggesting blame it would make better sense for officials to shut up about what caused the fire until they have some data with which to deal.

momofboys2Jan. 3, 1412:10 AM

Very sad. My heart and prayers are with all involved. I can't imagine anything more frightening than to wake up in a raging fire on such a frigid night.

jeffportJan. 3, 14 5:07 AM

This is just a blame game now for the lawsuit aspect of the issue.

woodpecJan. 3, 14 5:37 AM

The title of the article suggests a clash. That is not at all how the article reads, though. It just suggests an understandable disagreement. Either some information is missing or the title of the article is misleading.

mnmaidJan. 3, 14 7:06 AM

@liberallymn: What good would sprinklers and fire alarms do in a gas leak? Those things don't prevent or stop explosions. They aren't gas detectors. The building would still have exploded. I have no doubt that there were alarms, but they wouldn't have gone off until after the building exploded and the fire started. I'm pretty sure the explosion itself would have been alarm enough to get out. Whether or not the building had sprinklers can be questioned, as not all 100+ year old buildings can/have been retrofitted with them, but an explosion could easily damage them, too, so that they no longer function.

calicocamJan. 3, 14 7:11 AM

CenterPoint claims there was "no natural gas in the area". Really? An assertion like that should be pretty easy to prove or disprove. Was there natural gas service in the building? Yes or no? My money is with the fire department on this one.


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