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Published June 27, 2012, 09:01 AM

Tenants recovering after Fergus Falls fire kills one, injures another

Fergus Falls, MN (WDAY TV) - A quick response from those firefighters along with a fire wall prevented that fire from sweeping through the 2nd floor of the apartment complex. Eight oxygen tanks were in the apartment, several exploded.

By: WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fergus Falls, MN (WDAY TV) - A quick response from those firefighters along with a fire wall prevented that fire from sweeping through the 2nd floor of the apartment complex. Eight oxygen tanks were in the apartment, several exploded.

Today, those left without a place to live tried to piece their lives back together. The tenants are thankful to be walking around, safe after the horrific scene so many witnessed.

Hours after the fire, there are stories of tragedy and heroism, families left homeless and one man injured after trying to rescue his mother as oxygen tanks exploded.

Keshia Brown – Children Escaped Fire: “This would have been a horrendous day for me to bury my children, I am just grateful.”

As crews began to patch the rooftop and windows of the burned out apartments at Sunrise in Fergus Falls, tenants gathered at Salvation Army for consoling and advice from city and county officials. For some, like the Brown family, there is now no home to go to. The fire took everything.

Brandon Brown – Escaped Fire: “Could have been a lot worse. I just thank God that my brothers and sisters are safe with me.”

Some, like Josh Madole saw it all. He and Melissa Fuder live next to the burned out apartment where oxygen tanks started exploding. Josh and others also used a blanket to help rescue a man living a level above.

Josh Madole – Rescued Tenant: “It was just incredibly hot so he could not get out. We ended up catching him with a blanket.”

The woman who died lived with her son. Neighbors say poor health forced her to be on oxygen, but she still smoked. Witnesses describe a harrowing scene as the tanks caught fire.

David Knutson – Sunrise Apartments: “It looked like he came out of a coal mine, it looked like a coal mine cave in, he said Dave, there is fire in mom’s apartment. She’s dead.’ It took me about 30 seconds to comprehend what he was saying. He was just pure black. Then he ran back in, I think he’d gone back in there 6 to 8 times. You can’t got into an inferno like that. There were all those tanks exploding.”

Most of the tenants were allowed back into their apartments by midafternoon, grateful they had a home to return to.

A coroner did an autopsy on Gundberg's body. Her son Donavon is in stable condition.

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