Sprinkler funding now secured for all public housing high-rises in Minneapolis

Date Published: 
January 24th, 2023

From KARE 11 Minneapolis:

It's been a little more than three years since the fatal fire at Hiawatha Towers in Minneapolis' Cedar Riverside neighborhood. 

Five people died in that public housing building the day before Thanksgiving, 2019, and state authorities later determined that their lives could have been saved had sprinklers been installed.

According to a Department of Public Safety report, the 25-story building only had sprinklers on the entry-level and in the basement because it predated today's mandatory sprinkler laws.

Now though, there is funding to equip not just all Hiawatha Towers units with "fire suppression systems," but a total of 42 public high-rise buildings citywide.


Minneapolis Public Housing Authority reports that sprinkler installation is complete in 23 of the 42 high-rises, and work is underway in 10 other buildings. Of the remaining nine buildings, four were left without dedicated funding. 

However, MPHA announced that Wonsley helped secure an additional $1.2 million to fund the final four high-rises. The money is part of a total $3.35 million the city of Minneapolis has now put toward the sprinklers.

"Publicly owned and operated housing should have basic safety systems," Wonsley said.

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) also presented a check for $2 million of federal funding that she and Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) secured last spring. That money has been trickling in since then.

Read KARE 11's article "Sprinkler funding now secured for all public housing high-rises in Minneapolis."

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