Update: 15 Displaced Following Hibbing Apt. Fire

By KBJR News 1

January 24, 2013 Updated Nov 3, 2013 at 3:15 PM CST

Hibbing, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Hibbing, MN (NNCNOW.com) - As fire departments from across the Iron Range swept in to battle visible smoke and flames on the second floor of the apartments above the Sportsman's Restaurant and Taverna, it became clearer just how widespread the damage was.

"Any time we have a fire, we have significant damage with water and smoke. So, of course, any time you have water on the 2nd floor, water is going to run down on the 1st floor," said Hibbing Fire Marshall Bryan Fagerstrom, standing outside the building as sub-zero temperatures froze a previously active hydrant across the street.

29–year–old apartment resident Sarah Hallowell was in the apartment at the time of the blaze.

"I saw my neighbors trying to kick in my other neighbor's door that was on fire, and I just got dressed and got out of there," said Hallowell as she sat in the Salvation Army Hibbing HQ waiting to speak with the Red Cross and Hibbing Police.

The loss of her home was only made more tragic by the loss of her place of work on the ground floor.

"I live there, I work there—everybody there is like family to me. It's just really tragic for everybody," said Hallowell.

While two individuals were treated and released at an area hospital for smoke inhalation, everyone is reported as making it out safe. However, even with the preliminary investigation still underway, the structure damages are going to be costly.

"You know, a building this size with that number of units and restaurant involvement—we could be in an upwards of $500,000 in damages," said Marshall Fagerstrom.

The Red Cross and Hibbing Salvation Army have come together to provide food and shelter for the residents, and rooms will be provided at the Hibbing Park Hotel for the next three days.

But, after that, residents like Hallowell will need to find another place to live.

"Just hang in there. We'll get through this," said Hallowell.

While the preliminary investigation is still underway, Marshall Fagerstrom says the fire does not appear to be suspicious in origin.

- Posted to the Web by Billy Wagness

Posted to the web by Krista Burns

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