UPDATE: Grand Forks Fire Caused by Overloaded Circuit - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

UPDATE: Grand Forks Fire Caused by Overloaded Circuit

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The Grand Forks Fire Department has concluded its investigation on the Sunday night fire that destroyed a family's home at 604 North 5th Street.

The fire is being classified as accidental. The fire was caused by an overloaded circuit, which in turned caused wires to heat up and catch nearby combustible materials on fire.

The family of five, which consists of two adults and three boy's ages 8 years, 4 years and 11 months, were able to get out without being hurt. Fire damage to the home was minimal with moderate heat and smoke damage.  The homes smoke detectors were working.

The Grand Forks Fire Department urges people to follow these simple tips concerning electrical safety.

  • Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.
  • Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
  • Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.
  • Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
  • If outlets or switches feel warm, you experience frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuits, flickering or dimming lights, please call a qualified electrician.


  It was a terrible start to the holiday season for a northern valley family.

  Fire gutted Larry and Jackie LaFontaine's(La-Fountain)  rental home in Grand Forks last night. The couple, along with their 3 sons got out safely.

  The Fire Department stood watch here throughout the night to make sure there weren't any flare ups. And while the home is still standing, it's no longer livable. Most of this family's belongings are strewn on the lawn, covered with water and smoke.

   Jackie LaFontaine got her first look at everything in daylight. She spotted her wedding dress as one of the things thrown out on the lawn.

Reporter: "Kind of tough to look at?"

Jackie LaFontaine, Grand Forks: "Yeah, we'd just setup our Christmas tree, saw the fire and got out."

  The LaFontaine's say they'd just setup their Christmas tree and were settling down to watch a Christmas movie, when they say what appeared to be an electrical fire started in the ceiling.

  They grabbed their 3 boys and got out. Larry LaFontaine was also able to get out all their pets as Jackie called the fire department.

  However, Larry says his 8 year old son is taking all this a bit hard.

Larry LaFontaine, Grand Forks: "My oldest afterwards was telling me Dad… Daddy don't be sad. We're going to live in our house again. He got his hopes up and we had to tell him later, we're going to have to find a new place."

  The fire department is still investigating an exact cause of the blaze.

  Battalion Chief, Rob Corbett says smoke alarms were working here, but Corbett says this fire is a reminder to everyone, to make sure your smoke alarms are working this holiday season.

  Larry LaFontaine was just laid off,  for the season as a construction worker. Jackie manages a local convenience store.

  The family did have rental insurance, but there are always needs that are not covered. If you'd like to help the LaFontaine's get back on their feet, you can send a donation to:

LaFontaine Fund, C/O:

University Lutheran Church

2122 University Avenue

 Grand Forks, ND 58203

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