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Published April 07, 2013, 07:13 PM

Siding prevents fire from spreading in a Fargo apartment fire

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- It's a tragic weekend for friends and family of a man killed and a woman hospitalized after an apartment fire.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- It's a tragic weekend for friends and family of a man killed and a woman hospitalized after an apartment fire.

Meantime firefighters say there could have been more victims, had it not been for the material on the outside of the building.

30-year-old Jesse Madson died when his apartment started on fire early Saturday morning. His girlfriend, Angela Wentz, is in a Twin Cities burn unit. But other residents may have been saved by the building itself.

Asst. Chief Leroy Skarloken/Fargo Fire Dept.: "It had started leaking up the outside of the building and The steel siding prevented the spread up into the third floor."

Flames were pouring out of the second floor apartment when firefighters arrived. Still, the third floor apartment directly above only had a burned deck and some charred siding. ABC Seamless in Fargo installed the siding more than 20 years ago.

Vice President Lee Wegner says if it had been vinyl or polymer, rather than steel, this could have had an even more tragic ending.

Lee: "If that had been vinyl, it would have reached a flash point, gone up into the attic. And the scary part is, how long does it take the fire department to get there? With steel you have more time."

ABC Seamless produced this video that shows how the different materials burn over just five minutes.

And many apartment fires tend to start on the outside deck, often from a cigarette or a grill.

Back in 2010, a fire believed to have started on a first floor deck destroyed the Galleria Apartments in South Fargo.

The flames quickly moved up the vinyl siding, igniting propane tanks along the way.

Lee: "It takes 2800 degrees to melt steel, while as vinyl has a melting point of about 160-180 degrees."

Unfortunately the steel did nothing for the victims on Saturday as the fire started inside the apartment, we can only imagine how many more victims there would have been had the fire spread.

Steel siding tends to be more expensive than vinyl.

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