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Olivia, Minn., apartment fire claims life; ID is likely early today

The Westcourt Apartments in Olivia was the scene of a fire Thursday that claimed the life of one person. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

OLIVIA — Investigators are working to identify the person who died in an apartment fire Thursday in Olivia.

According to Olivia Police Chief Derek Lee, the identity of the person is still pending full identification by the Midwest Medical Examiner’s office in Anoka County. As of Thursday afternoon, Lee was expecting that the identity of the victim would be released this morning.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation by the Olivia police and fire departments and the State Fire Marshal, Lee said. Investigators were going to return to the scene this morning to continue the investigation.

Emergency responders including Olivia police, fire and ambulance crews, plus the Renville County Sheriff’s Office, responded to a 911 call just after 7 a.m. Thursday at the Westcourt Apartments along the 500 block of 13th Street South.

Firefighters found heavy smoke coming from one apartment and discovered the body after the fire was extinguished.

The fire was contained to the one apartment of the 16-apartment building, but 15 more apartments suffered smoke damage and 15 people were temporarily displaced from their homes, Lee said. Most of the people are now staying with friends or family, and several are staying in motel rooms arranged by the Red Cross. 

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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