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Wendy Reuer, Published June 20 2013

Neighbor helps put out Fargo deck fire

FARGO – If not for a quick-acting neighbor, fire officials here say a deck fire Thursday afternoon could have easily turned into an apartment complex inferno.

First-floor resident Andy Kremers was outside when he thought he smelled smoke. He looked around and saw flames shooting off a third-floor apartment deck, directly above his home. He grabbed a fire extinguisher from inside the building and ran to the top-floor apartment. Amanda Popp, who also lives in a first-floor apartment, called 911.

The third-floor resident was taking a shower, but heard Kremers knocking and let him in, Kremers said.

Fire Battalion Chief Dane Carley said Kremers had the deck fire nearly extinguished by the time crews arrived at Wheatland Apartments, 3063 34th St. S. about 2:40 p.m. The fire was contained to the deck and destroyed some plastic furniture and part of the west side wall.

Carley said the fire could have quickly gotten out of control due to the location of the fire, involvement of plastic, and vinyl siding on the building.

Thursday’s fire was the fifth deck fire crews have responded to in the past five days, he said, adding that deck fires are increasing due to improper smoking habits of residents.

He reminded residents to use metal ashtrays filled with sand, even outdoors.

No one was injured.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530