Minneapolis fire chief John Fruetel did not appear to know that the city’s 3rd Police Precinct was engulfed in flames overnight Thursday into Friday until CNN’s Don Lemon told him on-air.
Fruetel called into CNN to discuss the various fires set by people on the ground in response to George Floyd’s death. Lemon asked Fruetel about what was happening at the police precinct as CNN showed it being on fire, and the chief didn’t seem to know much about the situation.
“The latest information that I have – I was a few blocks away at another fire, so I haven’t had a chance to catch up on all the details on the precinct building – but I am aware that there are fires right across the street from the 3rd precinct building,” Fruetel said. “I do know that they were trying to set fire on the front door area of that building I do not know that they’ve gained access to that structure as of yet.” (RELATED: ‘This Is Mostly A Protest’: MSNBC’s Ali Velshi Says Riots Aren’t Unruly As Building Burns Behind Him)
“We’re looking at the building on fire,” Lemon informed the fire chief. “And it says ‘Minneapolis Police Department’ right on the side of the building … The department is on fire.”
Fruetel apologized and said that he did not have CNN’s advantage of real-time footage.
“Yes, that’s very possible,” Fruetel responded. “I apologize, I just came from another fire, you have the advantage of real-time and I’m not seeing that, so if that is the case then they have made entry into the building and obviously the building is on fire.”
Officers evacuated the building shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday evening, Minneapolis Police Department said in a statement, according to FOX9 reporter Theo Keith. Just after 11:30 p.m. (eastern time), the building was on fire, according to reports from Townhall’s Julio Rosas.
Fruetel was informed by Lemon of the fire around 12:20 a.m. (eastern time).