North Fargo House Fire Ruled Suspicious - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

North Fargo House Fire Ruled Suspicious

North Fargo House Fire Ruled Suspicious

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Thursday Update:

Fargo Police and Fire Department have determined the fire in the North Fargo neighborhood has been ruled suspicious. Police and Fire are still investigating.  Neighbors and those living in the home both tell Valley News Live they believe someone started the fire that originated on the home's front porch.

One of the tenants told us on Thursday that although he lost nearly everything, he's happy to have escaped with his life thanks in part to the quick action of others.

"I'm thankful that everyone got out okay, I'm thankful that we had that ladder, I'm thankful that we had enough people to hoist that ladder up," Rick Fries explains as he recalls be saved by a neighbor. "You know the two of us, and then I'm glad we were able to get them down and get them safe, we lost a lot of stuff, but a lot of people got their lives saved."

Two people were trapped on the second floor of the home. As the room they were in filled with smoke, a neighbor grabbed a ladder and helped them to safety.

Monday Evening Update:

The Fargo Fire Department is still investigating the cause of a fire that lit up a Fargo neighborhood on the 1000 block of 7th Street North early this morning like the light of day.

"The street was lit up like Christmas with red flashing lights and then I could see that was smoking like crazy," says neighbor Greg Mayer.

It took Fargo Fire, Police, F-M Ambulance and a Moorhead fire engine to fight the fire eating the two-story, three-apartment house.

"The street was lined with fire trucks and cop cars; every one of them had their lights flashing- it was a bright night on the street," says Mayer.

Before crews arrived, the next-door man neighbors are calling 'brave' used a ladder to come to the rescue of two people stuck on the second floor.

'What could have happened would have been really serious and the burns that the people inside could have been really severe and possibly life threatening," says neighbor Jared Kruse.

All six people were able to make it out safely, but their home is a different story. Officials say the fire caused extensive damage to the porch, front rooms on both floors and smoke damage to the second floor. Greg Mayer has lived here for more than 20 years and doesn't think the house will survive.

"Just from what I can see, anyway, not worth remodeling," says Mayer.

For those with homes only feet away:

"It's scary. That could happen to anybody. You just never know," says neighbor Scott Ehlers.

The Red Cross says they are helping the families with food, clothing and a place to stay for the next few days.

Fargo firefighters were called to a house fire on the 1000 block of 7th Street N. in Fargo early Monday morning.

It happened just after 1:00 a.m. at a home that had been converted to 3 apartment units.  Six people living in the building were able to get out, but not with out the help of a brave neighbor.

Firefighters say two people were trapped on the top floor until a neighbor ran to the burning building with a ladder and helped them climb down to safety. 

"I think the neighbor did a fantastic job," says assistant Fargo fire chief Leroy Skarloken. "If is wasn't for him, those people could be in dire straits, so what he did saved their lives." 

Fire crews have been on the scene for several hours and are trying to pinpoint the cause.

The American Red Cross is helping out the three displaced families. 

News release from Fargo Fire Department:
Fargo, ND (May 19, 2014) Fargo firefighters responded to a report of a fire at 1017 7 St. N. at 1:11 a.m.  Red River Regional Dispatch received two calls reporting the fire. One call from two occupants trapped on the second floor, and a second from a neighbor who was putting a ladder up to the second floor window at the rear of the house. On arrival fire units encountered heavy fire involving the front of the 2 story house which had been converted to 3 apartment units. The occupants on the second floor had escaped safely via the ladder raised by the neighbor. Fire fighters extinguished the fire on the exterior and interior of the first and second floors. A search of the building was completed and all six occupants had escaped unharmed.

The fire caused extensive damage to the front porch and front rooms on the first and second floors. Smoke damage was heavy to the entire first and second floors. A second alarm was called shortly after fire units arrived. Fargo Fire responded with 17 personnel on 4 engines, 1 truck and 1 command vehicle. The second alarm provided additional Fargo command staff, and a Moorhead Fire Department engine with 3 personnel , The  Fargo Police and FM Ambulance had units on  scene along  with the Salvation Army and the Red Cross. Excel Energy responded to cut power to the building.

The Red Cross arranged for all the occupants to stay at local hotels. There were no injuries to occupants or firefighters. The fire is under investigation and a fire watch is being maintained at this time.

The Fargo Fire Department encourages everyone to have working smoke detectors and have an escape plan.

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