Blast at Somali immigrants' apartment block claims third life

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 January, 2014, 2:18am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 January, 2014, 2:18am


A third person injured in an explosion at a Minneapolis apartment building housing Somali immigrants has died, officials said yesterday.

Abdiqani Adan, 29, who did not live in the building, died on Friday at the Hennepin County Medical Centre in Minneapolis, officials at the office of the county's medical examiner said.

Meanwhile, two survivors still in the hospital recounted jumping from windows to save themselves. Abdi Qobey, 59, was sitting in bed watching television early on New Year's Day when he heard a boom and saw the walls of the building buckle.

"I see the smoke. I see already I'm going to suffocate if I stay one more minute," said Qobey. "I knew that if I stay, I'm not going to stay alive."

Turning to grab a few possessions, he said he could not see anything but the second-floor window. So he ran to it.

"I looked downstairs," he recalled. "I see one officer in the street. He says, 'Sir, the firefighters have not come yet. There's no other choice. You have to jump'."

I see the smoke ... I knew that if I stay, I’m not going to stay alive

Qobey suffered fractures in both legs and a back injury but is glad to be alive, he said from his hospital bed.

The explosion and fire broke out at about 8.15am on Wednesday, killing two people, injuring 14 and destroying the three-story apartment building. Nine people were also taken to hospital on Friday, including three in critical condition.

Ali Jama, 41, was visiting friends and sleeping in a second-floor apartment when he heard the loud boom, which was followed by windows shattering. He kicked out the rest of the glass and sat in the window opening.

"I thought I might die," he said. "I prayed, but I thought I was dying."

He jumped and hit the ground two floors below, breaking both legs and several ribs. Two friends were also badly hurt when they jumped, he said, but survived.

One of the two people who did not make it out of the building was identified on Friday as Ahmed Farah Ali, a 57-year-old resident.

A second body was recovered on Friday, although that person has not yet been identified.