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Crews responded to the complex on 538 St. Peter Street just east of the Minnesota Historical Society after 5 p.m. They were putting out hot spots by 5:30. The cause of the fire has not been determined, but St. Paul Fire Chief Tim Butler confirmed it started in the second floor apartment.
Joseph Aitkin and Anthony Wilhem tried to help their elderly neighbor Greg Jones, who lives on the second floor, but the flames and smoke forced them to retreat. Within minutes, firefighters showed up, rescued Jones and one other person trapped inside. Both are in serious condition at Regions Hospital with burns and smoke inhalation.One firefighter suffered a minor eye injury. Butler added the department has had fire and medical emergencies at the complex before, which helped them navigate the building.