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WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 14, 2012, 06:40 PM

Charges could be filed in Moorhead apartment fire

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - The Moorhead Fire Department continues its investigation today into the fire that swept through an apartment complex. Some were treated for minor smoke inhalation, but several others had to be evacuated or pulled from the burning building.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

The Moorhead Fire Department continues its investigation today into the fire that swept through an apartment complex. Some were treated for minor smoke inhalation, but several others had to be evacuated or pulled from the burning building.

In Minnesota there is a law against so called negligent smoking. If someone is smoking while using oxygen, and a fire breaks out because of it charges could be filed.

Moorhead fire investigators say a tenant in the apartment building admitted he was smoking, and that plastic tubing hooked to his tank caught on fire. Blankets then started burning, and the fire spread.

Smoke filled the apartment building, as families scrambled to get out. The tenant who is on oxygen is quite ill. The fire investigation report will be sent to the Clay County Attorney's office for review. That office will decide if charges are warranted.

Rich Duysen – Moorhead Fire Chief: “Whenever we have an investigation we have to rule out all other potential causes we were able to do that because of the evidence and the admission, it was found the tubing caught on fire while he smoked and it ignited the tubing and the bedding and the floor and we were able to see the burn pattern.”

It is not the first time the Moorhead Fire Department has had to deal with this. There was a fatal fire in the Moorhead High Rose about 15 years ago involving smoking and an oxygen tank.

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