Fire destroys north Grand Forks homeA fire destroyed a small, older house on the near north side of Grand Forks on Tuesday evening as its owner sat on the berm across Third Street, cradling her frightened Sheltie dog and watching firefighters battle the smoky blaze. Open article to see video of the North Third Street fire.
By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald
A fire destroyed a small, older house on the near north side of Grand Forks on Tuesday evening as its owner sat on the berm across Third Street, cradling her frightened Sheltie dog and watching firefighters battle the smoky blaze. It was clear the only outcome was managing the blaze, not rescuing the home.
“I was in the bathroom and my grandson came running, saying ‘The house is on fire,’” said Pam Laager, who has owned the 1½-story house built in 1899 for about four years. “It looked like it started on the back deck.”
For a moment, a firefighter could be seen inside, through a big, broken window on the backside of the house before black smoke seemed to obscure him.
Laager shook her head, out of words.
It’s the last house on North Third Street before Wilder Elementary School and Gateway Drive and across from Simonson Lumber and Hardware.
A neighbor said it’s the third house-destroying fire on the block in the past two years.
Laager, her brother, Merril Laager, and her son, Thomas Sterf, and her grandson, also Thomas Sterf, live together and all got out, with their two dogs, Prince, the Sheltie, and Marley, a big yellow Labrador, to watch their home go up.
A crowd of passersby gathered to watch the drama. A stiff breeze out of the west, where the sun lowered over trees and houses, blew enough smoke toward the nearby Red River to drive onlookers on for fresher air.
Thomas Sterf, 11, stood shivering near the cockatiel perched in its big cage now grounded on the grassy berm. “He’s Puff Daddy, or Puffy,” Thomas said of the bird watching the strange doings.
His father, Thomas, held on to Marley, helped by someone who brought him a makeshift leash of plain rope.
“I was sleeping, I don’t know what happened,” Thomas Sterf said.
The big thing was nobody got hurt, Pam Laager said.
Asked about her family’s near-term plans, she said: “My sister lives in town.”