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Kyle Potter, Published August 23 2013

VIDEO: Dog saved after blast sparks house fire in south Fargo

FARGO – Katie Bussard rushed out of her south Fargo home to the sound of smoke alarms Friday afternoon. She paced outside for nearly an hour as fire-fighters searched inside for her dog.

With her home completely destroyed after an explosion set it on fire Friday afternoon, she sat in her yard and held Tootsie as the miniature pinscher – found hiding under the bed – licked her face as she cried.

Fargo fire investigators still aren’t sure what caused the fire at Bussard’s home, at 1836 56th Ave. S.

Neighbors called in the fire shortly after 1 p.m. after hearing an explosion.

Firefighters knocked down the flames within an hour, fire marshal Norm Scott said. But the blaze warped the roof, blew out windows and destroyed much of the back half of the house.

Fire officials believe the home is a total loss. It is valued at about $117,000, according to city property records.

Bussard said she has no idea what caused the fire, and didn’t hear the explosion her neighbors reported – she was sleeping with her husband at the time, recovering from working the night shift.

“I woke up to smoke alarms and panic,” she said with Tootsie in her arms and her other dog at her side.

Firefighters evacuated the houses on each side for fear that the fire would spread. The flames warped the siding on the house to the west, and peeled it away on Arlene Palm’s house.

“They were banging on my door, yelling, ‘You have to get out!’” Palm said.

Palm was watching TV inside when she heard what “sounded like a bomb went off” next door, she said. She rushed to her deck, saw Bussard’s house ablaze and called 911.

Fargo fire officials believe the explosion came from Bussard’s deck, but don’t have any guesses as to what caused it.

Brian Shawn, spokesman for the American Red Cross Dakotas Region said the Fargo based chapter is helping the family of six with food, clothing and shoes and will continue working with the family in the coming days.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kyle Potter at (701) 241-5502

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kyle Potter at (701) 241-5502