Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman.
It's a wonder nobody was killed or more seriously hurt one early morning when a fire broke out at the Mahmood Khan property of 4425 Aldrich Ave N. The Star Tribune covered the harrowing details of the rescue quite well, the Pioneer Press was the only mainstream media to report the address, KSTP published a photo of the property and revealed the detail that there was only one working smoke detector, and the Johnny Northside blog let the world know this was a Mahmood Khan property. I drove past recently, out of curiosity, and realized that nobody had publicized that arson could have been a factor.
Some media pointed out that the cause of the fire is still under investigation. But the property itself and quite a few telephone poles on surrounding blocks have arson hotline fliers posted in a request for more information on what happened. Through this blog, I'm doing my part to spread the word in hopes that information gets back to the correct parties (or gets shared broadly here, as the case may be).
I'd also be quite interested in finding out exactly when this house, which doesn't look like it should be more than two units, if that, was converted into an eight-unit monstrosity. Who signed off on that permit or variance request? (It is possible that since the property is zoned R4 Multi-family, which allows for a range of densities at generally no more than four stories, that a variance may not have been necessary. But at some point, this house was converted to eight units. When, and how?) There were rumblings several years ago when housing advocates in north Minneapolis heard that a local bank had acquired 4425 Aldrich Ave N via foreclosure and then sold it to Khan. The previous owner, by the way, appeared to have difficulty even keeping the heat on. A fire department document from 2007-2008 lists the house as needing to be maintained at 68 degrees.
Hopefully more information is forthcoming. Any tips regarding arson should be sent to Sgt. Sean McKenna at 612-673-3389.