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Woman in critical condition after Fargo apartment blaze

By Helmut Schmidt / The Forum - 

FARGO – A woman who was burned in a fire Saturday that took the life of her boyfriend was listed in critical condition Sunday in a Minneapolis hospital, a spokeswoman said.

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Angela Marie Wentz, 42, was burned in the early morning fire at the Page Meadows apartments in south Fargo.

Jesse Daniel Madson, 30, died of injuries suffered in that blaze.

After Wentz was rescued by Fargo firefighters from the smoke-filled building, she was taken by air ambulance to the burn unit of Hennepin County Medical Center.

Hospital spokeswoman Christine Hill said she could release nothing more on Wentz’s condition.

A Wentz family member in Fargo, who identified himself as Wentz’s brother, said Sunday that the family was declining to make any statements at this time.

According to her Facebook profile, Wentz is a graduate of Moorhead High School.

Fargo Assistant Fire Chief LeRoy Skarloken said Sunday that he expects that a cause of the fire at 925 Page Drive will probably be determined sometime next week.

Firefighters arrived at the scene of the fire at the 20-unit building about 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

Once there, they used ladders to rescue several residents who had huddled on balconies.

One family had reportedly safely jumped from a balcony to the ground before firefighters arrived, Skarloken said.

Sixteen residents were displaced by the blaze, which was mostly contained to one second-floor apartment.

The balcony door and a window of that apartment were boarded up Sunday.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including K-12 education, Fargo city government, criminal justice, and military affairs. He is currently one of The Forum's business reporters.

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