Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Blazes displace residents in GF, EGF

Fires at an apartment building in Grand Forks and an apartment house in East Grand Forks forced evacuations early Wednesday. Officials said nothing suggests the blazes, which were reported within a half-hour of each other, are related. The causes...

East Grand Forks fire
Nate Foster returns to his smoke and water damaged downstairs apartment at 136 4th Street N.W. in East Grand Forks Wednesday. An early morning fire in the apartment above Foster's claimed the lives of the upstairs tenants' two cats. JOHN STENNES

Fires at an apartment building in Grand Forks and an apartment house in East Grand Forks forced evacuations early Wednesday.

Officials said nothing suggests the blazes, which were reported within a half-hour of each other, are related. The causes of both fires are under investigation.

Battalion Chief Rob Corbett said the Grand Forks fire started in a second-floor unit of a 24-plex at 1106 26th Ave. S. Police and firefighters responded to the call just before 3:30 a.m. "When they arrived on scene, their biggest concern was to get people evacuated out of the complex," he said.

Corbett said a resident and a firefighter suffered minor injuries but that no one was taken to the hospital. The blaze caused about $80,000 in damage, he said.

Bob Follman, 41, who lives on the first floor, said a police officer came to his door early Wednesday and told him to evacuate the building. "I tossed on a T-shirt and my jacket, and I grabbed my leash for my dog," he said, adding that the commotion rattled his 3-year-old boxer.

ADVERTISEMENT

On Wednesday evening, property manager Susan Michael said most residents had been able to move back into their units.

In East Grand Forks, Assistant Chief Jeff Boushee said his department responded shortly before 4 a.m. to a fire at a two-story house divided into three apartments at 136 Fourth St. N.W. Boushee said the fire started in the upstairs apartment.

Don Cash, the building's owner, said the tenant managed to save her dog, but her two cats died in the fire. "I think it's going to be a total loss. There's nothing left in there," Cash said of the apartment.

Nate Foster, 30, lives with his girlfriend and her 16-month-old son in an apartment on the first floor. He said he heard the upstairs tenant yell "Fire!" on Wednesday morning.

"That's when me and my girlfriend popped up," Foster said. "I ran and got the kid, ran outside, and when I looked above the back, there was already 10-foot flames coming out."

Lea Mayer, 34, who lives in the other first-floor unit, said she got outside, called the fire department and waited across the street by Sacred Heart Elementary School.

"You don't know how helpless you feel when you're sitting across the street watching your house burn," she said.

Foster and Mayer said their apartments sustained water and smoke damage.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tom Tezel, emergency services director for the local Red Cross chapter, said his organization is putting up the residents of the East Grand Forks apartment house in a motel and has provided them with food and clothing, "so they can begin to get their lives back together."

Reach Ingersoll at (701) 780-1269; (800) 477-6572, ext. 269; or send e-mail to aingersoll@gfherald.com .

What To Read Next
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.
Crisis pregnancy centers received almost $3 million in taxpayer funds in 2022. Soon, sharing only medically accurate information could be a prerequisite for funding.
The Grand Forks Blue Zones Project, which hopes to make Grand Forks not just a healthier city but a closer community, is hosting an event on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Empire Arts Center from 3-5 p.m.
A bill being considered by the North Dakota Legislature would require infertility treatment for public employees — a step that could lead to requiring private insurance for the costly treatments.