Burnsville apartment fire leaves nearly 200 homeless days before Christmas

A Burnsville apartment building, housing nearly 200 people, erupted in flames Monday afternoon, leaving residents homeless with just the clothes on their backs. Luckily, no one was reported injured or missing as the blaze raged onHere is a KSTP video report on the fire: 

The 64-unit building still had some hot spots as of 6 a.m. this morning and fire fighters were on the scene. KSTP says the third floor has collapsed. 

The Red Cross created an emergency shelter for victims of the fire. Minnesota Public Radio says 19 families (about 80 people) stayed the night. The rest of the apartment residents had alternative places to stay. 

Students from the high school gathered at the building where families were taking shelter, already starting to wrap presents for the families that lost everything, the Pioneer Press reports.

Around the corner from the Burnsville High School gymnasium, where victims were staying, dozens of students sat on the floor wrapping presents for children who had lost their homes. Other students arrived, bringing bags full of gifts from any store they could find open. 

"It's really hit the community hard. I was in the car just crying," said Natalie Evanson, 17, a junior and student council member. 

"I can't remember anything this bad happening," she said as teddy bears, footballs, coloring books and other gifts were wrapped and labeled for the recipients' appropriate gender and age. 

"It's the holidays. I just can't imagine," Evanson said, as she was joined by other members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes student organization in wrapping presents.

The Red Cross is asking for donations to help the victims. Visit their Web site to find out how to give.

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