Thanks once again to an anonymous commenter for a tip on the latest from the Strib about Wednesday morning’s explosion and fire in a Somali neighborhood of Minneapolis:
A second body has been found in the wreckage of a Minneapolis apartment building that exploded and burned on New Year’s Day, fire officials confirmed Friday morning.
The discovery came Friday morning as crews resumed work removing debris from the site.
At least 14 people were injured, six of them critically.
The body of the first victim was discovered Thursday afternoon as excavating equipment began knocking down walls of the gutted three-story building shared by a grocery and 10 apartments.
Family members identified the two people not accounted for as Mrimri Farah, said to be about 60 years old, and Ahmad Ali, 57, who shared an apartment. Ali’s ex-wife Hawo Daqare said they divorced in 2006 but continued to share parenting of their son.
“I feel very bad, but I cannot do anything. Imagine if you lost someone,” she said.
She said Ali lived in Apartment No. 6 on the second floor.
Farah previously served in the U.S. Army and at one point was stationed in Iraq, said Shareef Hassan, a friend. Farah had gone to live in Somalia and came back to live in Minneapolis a couple of months ago. [emphasis added]
Consider this: there were almost no Somali immigrants to the United States before the “Black Hawk Down” debacle in Mogadishu in 1993. That means that any Somali-American who joined the U.S. Army did so sometime after that.
Mrimri Farah is said to have been sixty years old. That means he was at least forty when he joined up, maybe older.
The war in Iraq began in 2003. That means he was at least fifty when he served in Iraq.
Something is decidedly fishy here.
As a result of the fire, worshippers at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque have been forced to meet elsewhere. Fortunately for them, a community center and a synagogue have pitched in to donate space for Friday prayers:
The fire also displaced the Masjid Dar Al-Hijrah mosque and the Islamic Civic Society of America from their building that wraps around the destroyed grocery-apartment building. Basim Sabri, a property owner who has served as a liaison between authorities and the mosque, estimated that it will be unusable for six months.
The mosque said that Friday prayers will be held at the nearby Brian Coyle Community Center.
Sabri has offered space in one of his buildings on E. Lake Street, and Rabbi Michael Adam Latz of Shir Tikvah synagogue said that “we would be delighted to welcome them into our space.”
None of the latest news stories resolves the conflicting assertions of the fire chief and the gas utility about the cause of the explosion.
Stay tuned. I don’t think this story is over yet.
Previous posts about the explosion and fire in Cedar-Riverside, Minneapolis, on New Year’s Day 2014:
|2014||Jan||1||A Fiery Dawn in Minneapolis|
|2||Enter DHS — It Was a Gas Leak|
|2||The Gas Company Says: “No Way!”