INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 28, 2011, 10:08 PM

GF Apartment Residents Pick up Pieces After Devastating Fire

GRAND FORKS, ND (WDAZ-TV) - It turns out that a juvenile set a CD case on fire, and that's the reason flames and smoke destroyed a Grand Forks apartment building on Friday, putting 40 people out of their homes. More damage was caused than people originally thought.

GRAND FORKS, ND (WDAZ-TV) - It turns out that a juvenile set a CD case on fire, and that's the reason flames and smoke destroyed a Grand Forks apartment building on Friday, putting 40 people out of their homes. More damage was caused than people originally thought.

Besides the obvious damage to clothes and furniture, one tenant says she's lucky she and her daughter survived the fire.

"Thank God I was awake. I take sleeping pills at night and I smelled the smoke and told my daughter right away to get her shoes on and we were out the door," said tenant Jennifer Swatlowski.

Out the door and standing in shock with the rest of the residents as her home went up in flames.

"The fireman was able to recover a lot of photo albums of my dad who passed away a few years ago. Everything else, water damage, everything was gone," said Swatlowski.

She thought everything was gone and was told to contact the humane society to see if firefighters had rescued her cat.

"Well I figured over the Christmas weekend there would be nobody there to answer phone calls, so I was going to call on monday," said Swatlowski.

When Jennifer arrived at her apartment on Christmas night to pick up the photo albums that had been recovered, she got more than she expected.

"And sure enough they came out with our cat. It was a nice Christmas present," said Swatlowski.

Wednesday, almost a week later, Jennifer was experiencing chest pain and had trouble breathing. She decided it was best to get checked out at the hospital considering she's 28 weeks pregnant. Thankfully she's ok, but when asked how she would feel if this fire had effected her unborn child, she was speechless.

"I would be traumatized. I'm sure they will be keeping track of the pregnancy pretty closely now," said Swatlowski.

Jennifer and her daughter are moving to Texas in a few weeks to start over. She says she hopes the child that started the fire learns his or her lesson, that more was destroyed than just an apartment building.

"I mean it's hard. I know what being a single mother is like but I really, really hope that he gets the help that he needs," said Swatlowski.

The name of the juvenile that started the fire will not be released.

Tags: