Candle blamed for fire in Broadway apartment
Mark Weiler said he's glad he went to bed later than planned Tuesday, or he may not have smelled the fire burning in the apartment unit next to his. No one was injured in the fire, which damaged a second-floor unit above Zandbroz Variety store at...
Mark Weiler said he's glad he went to bed later than planned Tuesday, or he may not have smelled the fire burning in the apartment unit next to his.
No one was injured in the fire, which damaged a second-floor unit above Zandbroz Variety store at 420 Broadway in downtown Fargo.
A candle was the apparent cause of the fire, Fargo Fire Marshal Norm Scott said.
"The investigator visited with the tenant and he expressed to the investigator that he may have left the candle burning," Scott said.
The tenant wasn't home when the fire was reported about 2:15 a.m., said Fargo Fire Capt. Mike Hendrickson, acting assistant fire chief.
Weiler said he had planned to go to bed at 1 a.m., but he stayed up late working on his new art gallery at 216 Broadway.
He said he was still awake in bed when he smelled a strong plastic or rubber smoke smell. He went into the hallway and saw smoke coming from the apartment adjacent to his. He knocked on the door but got no answer and then knocked on the other tenants' doors. A total of six people fled the five second-floor apartments and gathered across the street, he said.
"I guess we didn't realize how serious it was until we went out and looked on the street and saw smoke billowing out of the windows, and we could see actually some of the flames as well inside the place," he said.
Firefighters tamed the fire in less than 15 minutes.
The fire started along the south wall of the living room, Hendrickson said.
The apartment unit received moderate fire damage and heavy smoke damage. The unit across the hall received minor to moderate smoke damage, and the other units received minor smoke damage, Hendrickson said.
Zandbroz Variety suffered minor water damage inside the front entrance, he said.
A preliminary damage estimate was $50,000.
One of the displaced tenants went to stay with a friend, and the landlord arranged housing for the others, Hendrickson said. The Salvation Army and Red Cross also offered assistance.
Weiler said there's no telling what would've happened if he had gone to bed earlier.
"That whole building, that fire would've gotten rampant," he said.