Apartment Fire: Residents sift through salvageable itemsToday, residents of that apartment building were allowed back inside. People have been streaming in since noon today. Some were calm and eager to get in, others in tears! We talked to the woman who was with the property manager who saw the first flames. Today, she came back to see almost everything she had, gone.
Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Fire crews are trying to figure out what started the South Fargo apartment fire. 150-people are now homeless. Fire officials say vinyl siding can be highly flammable. They say from the moment the fire touched the siding, it shot right up to the third floor. Once the fire was in the attic, it was tough for crews to get water up there. Someone was believed to be grilling and the fire moved up rapidly, igniting propane tanks.
"Since it's vertical and heat rises, it just shoots right up then of course with an over hang, with a soffit, it gets pulled in. It's common for that to happen when you have a balcony fire with vinyl siding."
Total damage estimates are still not known. Investigators say it will be up to insurance company and the property managers whether they salvage the building, or tear it down.
Today, residents of that apartment building were allowed back inside. People have been streaming in since noon today. Some were calm and eager to get in, others in tears! We talked to the woman who was with the property manager who saw the first flames. Today, she came back to see almost everything she had, gone.
18 hours of a whole range of emotions...
KARISSA YATES: "We cried and everything was done last night, so today it's just about moving forward."
Karissa Yates and her husband came here, a day later to find out the same thing.
MARK YATES: "Get it all sorted out today."
This couple and their two children lived on the third floor, but saw the initial smoke coming from the first level under their friend's apartment. Today, all they could do was stand back and watch a fire fighter sift through and bring down the little that was salvageable from their fire-scorched apartment. Take a look: wedding photos, memories and a safe with all their important documents. But that's about it.
KARISSA: "Look at it, you know, there's nothing I can do."
Others like Tanya and Mark: It's almost like they were in a totally different building.
TANYA SEIM: "The first couple apartments I walked by I about lost it because I'm like if ours is anything like that I'm going to be a wreck. But we're pretty lucky, all we had was water damage, paint dripping, floors are just dripping."
MARK: "Got my snowmobile stuff out of there because I don't want it smelling like smoke and social security cards and stuff like that."
But, for many here picking up the singed pieces, this may be the last of community living.
MARK: "I've actually been through this before and I'm done. I'm talking to a realtor this afternoon."
KARISSA: "Now we're just going to find a place to rent....maybe a house!"
As far as what's next: fire crews will be here to finish cleaning up the damage. The property managers from IMM in Minot will be here tomorrow to meet with insurance adjuster and put up a fence around the building to keep people out. The company’s vice president tells me they will then come up with a plan to get people in to move everything out.