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David Luessen, Forum News Service, Published March 23 2014

10 residents displaced in Jamestown apartment fire

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – Ten residents here were displaced following a fire at a fourplex apartment building early Saturday morning.

Jamestown Fire Department Chief Jim Reuther said five units and 25 firefighters battled the blaze for three hours and 20 minutes after it was reported at 2:33 a.m. Saturday. He said it was a “tough fire” to fight because it had spread into the walls and insulation.

“When the page came in, it did not sound good,” Reuther said, because there were initial reports of people possibly trapped inside.

“We did a primary and secondary search, and we did not find anybody at that time, but we did a third search and still didn’t find anybody.”

Reuther credited the police for evacuating the building before fire crews arrived, and said as many as three officers may have been treated for smoke inhalation.

Beth Dewald, executive director of the Buffalo Valley Red Cross, said volunteers were on the scene by 3 a.m. and provided housing, clothing and comfort for the 10 people – two of them children – affected by the fire.

“Because it was an apartment building or multiple-family fire, people were affected differently depending on their location in the apartment building,” De-wald said.

Reuther said the fire began in the upper level of the southeast corner of the building and spread to the attic and the apartment below it. Otter Tail Power Co. was called to disconnect power to the building, which Reuther said was still uninhabitable Sunday. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.