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Fargo police identify victim in fatal fire

FARGO - Police have released the name of a 27-year-old man killed in a fire late Wednesday at a south Fargo apartment building.

Sgt. Mark Lykken identified the victim as William Ross Nelson.

Nelson lived in Apt. 306 at 1522 East Gateway Circle S., where the fire was reported at 11:10 p.m. Wednesday.

Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the fire, but foul play was not suspected, Fargo Fire Marshal Norm Scott said.

Fire Capt. Randy Weiss said the victim died as a result of the fire and was found in the hallway outside his third-floor unit.

A man who lives next door was leaving when he saw smoke and flames in the hallway and ran outside to call 911, Weiss said.

Darwin Hansen, who lives in a first-floor unit on the same end of the building, said he was in bed and his 18-year-old son, Tyler, was watching TV when they heard the smoke alarms going off.

"We just didn't know what was going on and we just popped outside, and there was all kinds of fire coming from up here, smoke, everything just pouring away," he said.

Firefighters contained the flames to the one apartment unit and hallway and had the blaze under control by 11:35 p.m. The third floor sustained extensive smoke damage.

All 18 units of the building were evacuated. The Red Cross helped find shelter for three tenants, and the rest went to stay with family or friends, Weiss said.

Darwin Hansen, who stayed with his daughter, was among half a dozen tenants who stood outside the flat-roof brick build-ing Thursday afternoon, waiting to hear when they'd be allowed back in.

Damage to the building was estimated at $80,000, but the building was structurally sound, Weiss said.

The building is managed by Goldmark and owned by Hamilton Apartments LLP, according to the city assessor's office.

The building doesn't have a sprinkler system. Scott said it wasn't required for that size of building when it was built more than 30 years ago. A state deputy fire marshal was assisting with the investigation, he said.