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Archie Ingersoll, Published December 09 2013

VIDEOS: Nearby volunteer firefighter springs into action to extinguish fire at West Fargo day care

WEST FARGO – A small fire at a home day care sent the caregiver and seven children fleeing for safety Monday morning. The kids were huddled in a running sport utility vehicle as firefighters arrived.

“They got the children out, and everybody’s just fine,” West Fargo Fire Chief Roy Schatschneider said.

Jami Sell, the woman who runs the day care, said she rushed the children, many under the age of 4, out of her mobile home and into the SUV with the help of a friend’s 14-year-old daughter.

“I’d rather lose my house than someone else’s child,” said Sell, 36.

The flames were reported about 10:15 a.m. at 1014 Brookwood Lane in Brookwood Mobile Home Park. A nearby sanitation worker, who’s also a volunteer firefighter, heard the call and quickly responded.

“He went in, and he got the burning material and hauled it out and then took shovels full of snow and put it on the burning carpet back in there,” Schatschneider said. “It’s very fortunate that he was right here and was able to take care of it.”

The fire was in a bedroom by an electrical outlet that had a heater and radio plugged into it. The wires shorted out and a pair of blue jeans on the floor started on fire, the chief said.

The flames burned through a patch of carpet and left a smoky smell in the mobile home.

“There’s a lot of smoke in there, so it’s probably going to take some cleaning up,” Schatschneider said.

The American Red Cross is providing Sell’s family, which includes three children, with shelter for two nights at a hotel.

On Thanksgiving Day, in the same mobile home park, a fire damaged a home at 1312 Starr Ave. No one was inside at the time.