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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published October 09 2011

Family ecapes house fire in Casselton

CASSELTON, N.D. – A family escaped a fire here early Sunday morning that destroyed their home but did not cause significant injuries.

Authorities responded to the fire at 832 4th St. N. at 3:16 a.m. Sunday. When first-responders arrived, the home and garage were totally engulfed in flames with smoke coming out many of the windows, said the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.

Residents Paul and Amy Jo Poitra, along with their children, ages 13 and 6, and a family friend, age 14, were able to get out of the home safely. They went to a neighbor’s home, where they called 911.

“If it wasn’t for the smoke detectors, we’d probably have some fatalities,” Casselton Fire Chief Tim McLean told WDAY.

It took about an hour and a half to put the fire out. The fire also destroyed a car and a detached garage. The Mapleton Fire Department also responded.

The family was transported by Casselton Ambulance to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo for minor smoke inhalation. No other injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.

The community of Casselton already stepped up Sunday to begin assisting the Poitra family.

The Rev. Paula Mehmel, senior pastor at Martin’s Lutheran Church, where the Poitras are members, said a fund to help the family will be set up today at the Wells Fargo bank in Casselton.

The church also is planning a fundraiser for the family in the near future, Mehmel said.


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