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Published November 28 2012

Firefighter treated for mild heart attack after Dilworth shop blaze (with video)

DILWORTH – A firefighter who battled a blaze inside a storage building here Wednesday was hospitalized for smoke inhalation and ended up being treated for a mild heart attack, Dilworth Fire Chief Kurt Kennedy said.

The building’s renter, who uses it as an auto shop and was welding inside before it caught fire, tried unsuccessfully to put out the flames. He was treated for smoke inhalation at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, Kennedy said.

The fire was reported at 11:10 a.m. behind Edeen Family Dentistry at 806 Center Ave. W.

Authorities briefly shut down Highway 10 because a south wind was blowing heavy smoke across the road, reducing visibility.

Dilworth police arrived first on the scene. After making sure no one was inside the building, they began to back away from it “because stuff started to blow up,” Police Chief Josh Ebert said.

The explosions were likely the tires popping on a van inside the shop, Kennedy said. The shop contained oxygen and acetylene tanks used for welding, but they didn’t explode, he said.

Kennedy said the building’s renter told him he was welding some racks in the shop when he heard a pop, looked behind him and saw the fire.

The hospitalized firefighter, Michael Brendemuhl of Dilworth, had to have two stents put in his heart and will be at Sanford for a couple of days, Kennedy said.

“He was one that was going in putting the fire out with an air mask on, and I told him to take a break. And he didn’t look good, but he had had a cold for the last couple days, and he figured it was just that. Then the paramedics started working on him,” he said.

A state fire marshal is expected to arrive today to try to determine the cause of the fire, Kennedy said.

The building is totaled, he said, noting polyurethane foam insulation fed the fire once it started.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528

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