Victim identified from fatal weekend fire

The fire was caused by improper handling/disposing of a cigarette

Grand Forks downtown fire.jpeg
Grand Forks police and fire department personnel and Altru paramedics were dispatched around 4:16 a.m. to 21 South 4th St. for a report of smoke in the complex, according to a news release from GFPD.
Ingrid Harbo / Grand Forks Herald
We are part of The Trust Project.

GRAND FORKS — The victim in the fatal residential fire early Saturday morning in downtown Grand Forks has been identified as 45-year-old Derek Andersen.

According to a news release from the Grand Forks Fire Department, Andersen died from injuries sustained from the fire, which occurred around 4:15 a.m. Saturday at 21 South Fourth St.

The fire is classified as accidental as it was caused by improper handling and disposal of smoking materials, the fire department said. A smoldering cigarette ignited combustible materials. The apartment sustained moderate damage, according to the department.

The fire department urges residents to practice properly disposing smoking materials in non-combustible containers, ensuring working smoke detectors are present and regularly replace the batteries and implementing an emergency plan for homes.

Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 701-780-1267 or

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
What to read next
Some businesses say there was an uptick in Canadian traffic.
The action plan was created from the city’s ongoing participation with the RCCIP, an incentive of First Children’s Finance, funded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services and Michigan Department of Education
The 42nd Street arts corridor came to fruition around 2013, when a group of Grand Forks residents discussed turning the thoroughfare into a destination spot.
There were 131 drug overdose deaths statewide last year. The number has risen considerably from the 76 overdose deaths in North Dakota in 2019.