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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published October 14 2010

APARTMENT FIRE: Baby photo only thing firefighters could salvage for tenant

After Monday’s fire, Jake Lent had the clothes on his back and his 1997 Oldsmobile.

Now the Galleria On 42nd resident has one more possession:

His baby picture taken the day he was born, the only thing Fargo firefighters could salvage from the rubble of his third-floor apartment at 3700 42nd St. S.

Lent, 19, said before the fire he didn’t give much thought to the snapshot stashed in his bottom dresser drawer.

“That is literally now my most valued possession,” Lent said. “The only thing I have left from that entire room.”

Lent, who lived in Apt. 309 with two roommates, had to wait on the second floor while firefighters went to see what they could save.

Firefighters couldn’t enter through the main entrance because the floor had sunk 2 to 3 feet, Lent said, adding that his unit sustained the most severe damage.

Instead, firefighters entered Lent’s bedroom by going into the neighbor’s unit and breaking through the wall.

Lent wanted firefighters to search for a fire-proof box that contained sentimental items, including gifts from his grandfather and aunt.

The firefighters searched for more than 45 minutes and didn’t find the box or anything other than the picture.

“It is amazing how it survived the fire,” said his mom, Nicole Lent.

Firefighters weren’t able to get into the rooms of Lent’s roommates, Jesse Ostlund and Ryan Hoffart.

The three young men, who didn’t have renters insurance, lost several TVs and other electronic and gaming equipment, guitars and valuable vinyl record collections. They plan to stay temporarily with their parents or friends.

On Wednesday, the roommates went to the Twin Cities to see one of their favorite bands, Four Year Strong, a concert they’d been planning to attend for months.

Hoffart, 23, said it was a good way for them to take their minds off the fire for at least a day.

“Nothing was going to stop us from having an awesome day,” he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590