Grand Forks house fire kills 1, sends 1 to hospital
GRAND FORKS - A fire that charred a Grand Forks home early Friday left a woman dead and put her husband in the hospital. The fire department plans to identify the couple, believed to be middle-aged, this morning once their relatives have been not...
GRAND FORKS - A fire that charred a Grand Forks home early Friday left a woman dead and put her husband in the hospital.
The fire department plans to identify the couple, believed to be middle-aged, this morning once their relatives have been notified.
A nursing supervisor said the husband was in satisfactory condition Friday evening at Altru Hospital. Officials would not say what sort of injuries he suffered.
Firefighters were called to the one-story house at 443 Campbell Drive at 2:48 a.m., knowing that a person might be trapped inside, a fire department news release said.
Crews arrived to find part of the house "fully involved with fire and a significant amount of smoke throughout the home," the release stated.
Battalion Chief Rob Corbett said firefighters searched the home and found the woman. She was pronounced dead at the scene, he said.
Before firefighters showed up, her husband escaped the burning house. He then went to his next-door neighbor's home to seek help, and Sue Aos answered the door.
"My house is on fire! My house is on fire!" Aos said the man was yelling. "Call 911! Call 911! My wife is in there!"
Aos, who doesn't live in the home, was there visiting her grandson. Nonetheless, Aos, her daughter's boyfriend and the man went to see if they could save the woman's wife.
Aos, 58, said she touched a door on the man's house and could feel it was hot. "You can't go in there," she told the man whose wife was inside. At that point, she said, the reality of the situation seemed to hit him.
"He was pretty darn shook up," Aos said. "Who wouldn't be?"
Todd McGurk, the boyfriend of Aos' daughter, said flames were coming out a front window of the house. He said he tried to get inside through a bedroom window, but it was too high.
"There was no way I could get in," he said. "I didn't have a ladder."
McGurk, 47, said he went to the front door to try to enter the house and a police officer stopped him. Firefighters arrived a short time later, he said.
Battalion Chief Corbett said firefighters had no trouble extinguishing the blaze that was limited to the front half of the house. About 7:45 a.m., crews were overhauling the structure, checking the roof for hot spots.
Capt. Bruce Weymier said the fire started on the main floor in a bedroom near the home's front corner that's closest to McGurk's place. McGurk said that was where he tried to open the bedroom window that was too high.
McGurk said the couple had at least two small dogs. Corbett did not know if any pets were killed in the fire.
Corbett said the fire's cause is under investigation. He said he would release an estimate of the damage Saturday morning.
The department used the incident to remind residents to make sure their smoke detectors work.
Archie Ingersoll writes for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.