Cigarette blamed for fire that destroyed 128-year-old Fargo house
FARGO - A cigarette was the apparent cause of a fire that heavily damaged one of Fargo's oldest homes, Fargo Fire Department Capt. John Arens said today.
The Oct. 29 blaze started on the second-story wooden deck of the 128-year-old house at 389 8th Ave. S. There were leaves on the deck, as well as a sack of cigarette butts and kerosene, Arens said.
"The tenant said that the last thing he did up there on the deck was to put out a cigarette, and that's the only ignition source I have then," Arens said.
The tenant wasn't home when the fire started, Arens said. Only one tenant of the house's four apartment units was home at the time, and he wasn't injured.
Fargo Inspections Administrator Ron Strand said he declared the house a dangerous structure and issued an order Wednesday to have it vacated and removed in 30 days.
Damage to the house exceeded 50 percent of its assessed value, which requires it to be removed or demolished, Strand said.
"One look at it and you can say that the top two levels are just gone, and to replace that - boy, that would be pricey," he said, adding the first floor also received heavy water damage.