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The West Fargo Fire Department responded to a four-alarm residential fire Friday morning. Crews were called to reports of smoke coming out of a multiresident building in the 200 block of 9 ½ Avenue E. When they arrived on scene, heavy smoke was coming from the second floor area and residents confirmed no one was inside.
Crews were able to quickly enter and knock down the heavy fire in an upstairs bedroom with the aid hydrants in the area that had been cleared and maintained by the neighborhood. The availability of cleared hydrants allowed crews to contain the fire to one residence with no damage to other residences in the area.
West Fargo residents can adopt a hydrant by visiting www.westfargofire.org and clicking the Adopt A Hydrant icon, or directly at https://map.westfargond.gov/AdoptAHydrant. On the site, visitors can register with their email address and name. Once registered, users can select a hydrant to adopt and be responsible for clearing the hydrant of snow and ice during the winter and keeping an eye on the hydrant in case of any other issues.
Keeping hydrants clear of snow and ice is critically important during an emergency.
“A structure can be fully engulfed in fire in less than 15 minutes and even minimal smoke damage could cause an entire structure to be demolished,” said Fire Marshal Dell Sprecher. “The cleared hydrants saved us critical time when we arrived on scene.”
When clearing a hydrant, Sprecher asks volunteers to clear a 3-foot radius around the hydrant and ensuring access is available from the road. The West Fargo Fire Department estimates it can take the average individual about 20 minutes to clear the hydrant with a shovel or brush after the average snow fall. Those who do chose to clear snow should also take frequent breaks and avoid overexertion, which can lead to injuries or even heart attacks.
Residents of the rental unit have been displaced are being assisted by the American Red Cross with clothing and living arranges. The cause of the fire is under investigation and no further comment will be provided.