Hotel guests and residents of LivInn Suites stood out in the rain Friday evening after a heater caught fire in a guest rooms at about 5 p.m., causing heavy smoke to pour into the building.
Fire trucks, police cars and ambulances surrounded the building as firefighters worked to ventilate the building with fans. The Minnesota State Patrol was also on scene.
"It's pretty minor," said Fridley Fire Chief John Berg at the scene. "Just a lot of smoke."
Berg said the fire crew was not yet sure if the fire was caused by electrical or mechanical malfunctions.
LivInn is a hotel and also houses residents with long-term contracts.
Resident Leslie Battle said police got to the building almost immediately after alarms went off; fire trucks arrived later. She was relieved to see her neighbor in the crowd, safely out of the building.
"This is the one I was worried about," she said, indicating her neighbor.
Displaced residents discussed the fresh incident as they waited.
"Most of the time, it's a kid who pulled a fire alarm," one resident said. "But not this time!" said another.
Kari Minor and her children had just arrived to the hotel to check in after driving from North Dakota.
"I didn't know what was going on," she said. "We're just trying to see if we can still check in."
Many displaced by the incident went inside their cars to get out of the cold.
Shortly after 5:10 p.m., residents were allowed into the lobby area to await for the OK to return to their rooms.