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Fire destroys six condos in Dickinson

A burned-out car sits among the rubble after a fire. Sunday, Aug. 12, destroyed six condo units in Dickinson . Photo by James B. Miller, Jr. / Forum News Service1 / 3
A fire destroy six condo units on Sunday, Aug. 12 in Dickinson, N.D. Submitted by Misti Williams2 / 3
Dickinson neighbors watch in anxious anticipation as firefighters battle a massive fire down the street. Submitted by Misti Williams3 / 3

DICKINSON, N.D.—Firefighters battled in triple-digit heat for four hours against a fire that completely consumed a Dickinson condominium complex Sunday, Aug. 12.

Fire Chief Robert Sivak said the cause of the fire on the 600 block of West 29th Street is still under investigation.

Fire officials confirmed that no one was injured but the fire left condo residents homeless,

"He's just numb, my brother lost everything." said the sister of Dave Dolechek, a resident of the complex, visibly emotional. "The family next-door to my brother are from Florida and they have no family here, three little boys to care for and sadly just went shopping on Saturday for back-to-school clothes, all of which are gone. Everything is gone!"

Dolechek, like many others Sunday, was forced to watch his condominium burn before his eyes. While Dolechek maintained renter's insurance, many of the affected did not.

Fire officials say the building's layout created major challenges as the fire spread, destroying all six adjoining condos in the complex - each two-stories tall.

"The heat, wind and physical layout of the building — with the garages immediately in front of the living area — caused a tunnel effect for the fire on the exterior of the building and really helped speed it across that whole unit." Sivak said.

Firefighters were called just after 6 p.m. The Dickinson Fire Department worked for more than four hours to put out the blaze.

The American Red Cross and Stark County Emergency services took over from local residents who responded with neighborly compassion.

"We provided water with cups of ice and chairs to sit down while some were crying," said Misti Williams, a nearby resident. "We listened to them and provided clothing for the children directly impacted."

Red Cross teams were able to find emergency lodging for four families displaced by the fire, while others like Dolechek stayed with local family. Red Cross volunteers met with all the families Monday to offer further assistance with immediate needs, such as food, clothing and other essential items that may have been lost in the fire.