Cause Determined in Deadly Apartment Fire - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Cause Determined in Deadly Apartment Fire

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Monday Update 

The Fargo Fire Department has determined the cause of an apartment fire at 925 Page Drive over the weekend. The fire investigation has determined that the cause of the fire was due to smoking materials which ignited nearby combustible materials.

The fire happened just before 5:30 a.m. Saturday, April 6. The fire killed one man, Jesse Madson, and his girlfriend, Angela Wentz is on life support in a Twin Cities burn unit.

Sunday Update

The family of Angela Wentz says she is currently on life support at a Twin Cities burn unit. The fire happened at Page Meadows apartments at 925 Page Drive in South Fargo. It started in Wentz's and her boyfriend, Jesse Madson's, apartment. Madson died in the fire before crews could rescue him. A family friend says doctors tried putting Wentz solely on oxygen Saturday, but she had to be put back on life support.

Updated 4:30 PM

An early morning fire in South Fargo takes the life of one and severely injures another. It happened around 5:30 AM at the Page Meadows apartments at 925 Page Drive South. The fire also left people stranded on the third floor of the apartment building. They had to be rescued by fire crews from their balconies.

Neighbors and families spent the morning in the rain watching fire crews battle the fire and go through debris. Some neighbors say they didn't think it was a real fire until one person ran up and down the halls yelling for everyone to get out. But when they saw the flames, and learned the fire had killed their neighbor, the situation became all too real.

Kelly Dekak of Fargo says, "I was, I was panicked. I couldn't even see, it was just black."

Kelly Dekak woke up to a nightmare.

"I couldn't even see my hand in front of my face," says Dekak.

Fire alarms were going off, so she rushed to get her family out of the apartment. When fire crews pulled up, flames were coming out of a balcony on second floor.

"I figured both of them had died in there, because it was just, because you could not lay in there and breath all that smoke and not die," says Dekak.

Fargo Assistant Fire Chief, Leroy Skarloken, says, "We did a search we removed two victims from that apartment. One is deceased and the second is in the hospital at this point."

30-year-old  Jesse Madson passed away this Saturday morning from the fire. His girlfriend was 42-year-old Angela Wentz. Onlookers say rescue crews were delayed bringing her to the hospital because they had to keep reviving her. Angela was taken to the twin cities to be treated for burns. Neighbors who knew who the couple say they were always nice.

"Jesse had looked at my car once because I had something wrong with it," says Dekak.

In the complex the walls had double sheet rock which firefighters say helped keep the fire contained.

Dekak says, "Yeah, there's smoke like on the walls of the halls and stuff, it's just like streams of black smoke on the walls."

"The steel siding on the outside of the apartment did a good job of keeping it from extending up into the third floor and into the attics," says Assistant Chief Skarloken.

The fire stayed in just the one apartment of two people, who are in neighbors thoughts and prayers.

"Yeah, it's, I don't know, it's too bad," says Dekak.

Friends of Angela Wentz say she was on life support earlier this morning before being taken to a twin cities burn unit.

Both the Red Cross and Salvation Army were there to help people that had to stay out of the building for several hours this morning. Eight families have been given food and shelter until Tuesday when the building is expected to re-open.


 From the Fargo Fire Department:

At approx. 5:30 a.m. this morning, the Fargo Fire Department responded to a fire at Page Meadows apartments, located at 925 Page Dr S. in Fargo.

A neighbor noticed the fire and called 9-1-1 stating flames could be seen. Before first units arrived on scene, it was reported that one family had already escaped the building by jumping from a balcony.

Assistant Fire Chief LeRoy Skarloken says when fire crews arrived on scene, fire was showing from a patio door on the second floor. Fire crews entered the building and encountered heavy smoke conditions on the second and third floors. Firefighters attacked the fire in the second floor apartment and two people were pulled from the fire. One victim was pronounced dead at the scene and the other was transported to Essentia Hospital.

Four residents were rescued from third floor balconies.

The fire caused heavy damage to the involved apartment and moderate smoke and water damage to the rest of the building.  The steel siding on the exterior of the building drastically reduced the spread of the fire to the third floor and attic. 

The Fargo Fire Department responded with 23 personnel on five engines, two trucks, and two command vehicles. A second alarm was called. Units from Moorhead Fire, Fargo Police, FM Ambulance, Salvation Army, and the Red Cross also responded. 

At this time, fire crews are still on the scene. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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