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UPDATE: Charges Filed in Fargo Storage Unit Fire - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

UPDATE: Charges Filed in Fargo Storage Unit Fire

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Brian Tibesar Brian Tibesar
Update...

Charges are now filed for a fire last month in north Fargo that heavily damaged about a half dozen storage units. Brian Tibesar of Moorhead tells police he had candles lit in the storage unit and then fell asleep. Later when he woke up several units were on fire and he took off without calling authorities. Today Valley News team's Eric Crest finds out the rules for calling a storage unit home, within city limits.

At Mid-States Storage in north Fargo the surveillance video has been checked, neighboring renters questioned and there is no reason for the owner of this facility or the police to believe that anyone was living in the storage unit that started on fire here last month.

"I've reviewed the video and I can tell you leading up to it that no, he was not living here," says Bryan Bortnem the co-owner of Mid-States Storage in north Fargo.

"At one point we were looking into to see if this guy was living there. It doesn't appear he was at all," adds Lt. Jason Nelson of the Fargo Police.

But that's not to say it doesn't happen from time to time.

"My policy is if we discover someone living in a storage unit using it as a residence, we immediately evict them. There's no discussion or explanation we except," adds Bortnem.

Because as uncommon as it is, the Fargo housing inspector says there are certain criteria that make storage units off limits for people who are looking to make a place like this home.

"A door that you could walk through is missing, ventilation is missing, insulation is missing, lighting is missing, smoke detectors are missing and egress windows are missing," says Ron Strand the city of Fargo Inspections Administrator. 

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Because while these units may look cozy enough there not designed for any kind of sleep over event.

"It's happened a couple times in the 13 years I've been here," says Bortnem.

But no one should ever resort to resting their head in one of these.

"Most if not all of storage unit owners certainly wouldn't try to do that with their units. They know what there intended to house and it certainly wasn't people," adds Strand.

"It's for their safety. It's dangerous to live in there. They're hot, no ventilation, no electricity, it's not habitual," says Bortnem.

Tibesar is charged with failure to control or report a dangerous fire to police which is a misdemeanor. He told authorities that he left the fire after realizing it was too big to put out. He was not the renter of that unit at Mid-States Storage.
Original Story...

A Moorhead man is facing a misdemeanor charge of failing to control or report a fire after a May fire heavily damaged about a half dozen storage units in north Fargo.

According to the police report Brian Tibesar was identified on surveillance video.  During an interview with investigators, Tibesar admitted he had candles burning inside a unit at Mid-States Storage and fell asleep. 

Tibesar says he woke up to a fire in the early morning hours of May 5 and thought it was too large to put out so he left.  Police say Tibesar made no attempt to call 911 or report the fire. Tibesar is charged with failure to control/report a dangerous fire.

When fire crews arrived about 4:30 a.m. they found one storage unit fully engulfed in flames and fire spreading to the units on either side.
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