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Fire chief: Careless smoking led to fire at Willmar apartment

RELATED CONTENT: Multiple Willmar agencies aid tenants displaced by apartment fire Update 12:12 a.m. Wednesday. An apartment fire on Fifth Street Southwest in Willmar Tuesday was caused by careless smoking, according to a media release from the W...

Apartment fire
Firefighters from Willmar and surrounding departments douse an apartment fire Tuesday in southwest Willmar. (Gary Miller | Tribune)

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Multiple Willmar agencies aid tenants displaced by apartment fire

Update 12:12 a.m. Wednesday.

An apartment fire on Fifth Street Southwest in Willmar Tuesday was caused by careless smoking, according to a media release from the Willmar Fire Department. 

According to the release: 

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  • The emergency call was made at 4:38 p.m. Tuesday. Many people called it in.
  • The fire was at Fifth Street Southwest and 16th Avenue.
  • The building was completely evacuated. No one was injured. 
  • Firefighters rescued several pets. 
  • The fire was on the outside of the building, climbing from the second to third floors. Aggressive interior and exterior firefighting efforts brought the blaze under control. 
  • The building received extensive fire and water damage. 
  • Residents were displaced. The Fire Department chaplain helped them find places to stay the night. 
  • The Willmar Fire Department was assisted by the Willmar Police Department, Willmar Ambulance Service, the Blomkest, Spicer and Kandiyohi fire departments, and the State Fire Marshal's Office. 
  • The Salvation Army was on the scene with food and beverages for firefighters and residents. 

Update 10:25 p.m. 

WILLMAR - Several people were left temporarily homeless after a fire gutted several units at Scandia Woods Apartment complex on Fifth Street Southwest in Willmar.
Firefighters from Willmar, Spicer and surrounding departments responded to the scene.
The fire was called into authorities around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The top floor on the side of the building facing the street is charred. There appeared to be multiple holes in the roof.
Past 6 p.m., firefighters were still on the scene, spouting water into the building.
One 44-year-old female resident of the building, who asked not to be named, only knew of the fire when someone knocked on her door and told her to get out of the building. She didn’t see smoke until she opened her door into the hallway.
The woman, visibly upset at the scene, left everything inside the building, including her phone and wallet. She didn’t have apartment insurance.
Brandon Fairchild lives in the building in a unit near where the fire may have started.
He left his apartment when a friend told him his deck was on fire.
No injuries have been reported at this time.

Update 6:30 p.m.

Videos from the scene posted.

Update 5:30 p.m.

WILLMAR -- Firefighters from Willmar and surrounding departments are on the scene of an apartment fire in southwest Willmar.
The fire was called into authorities around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Scandia Woods Apartment on Fifth Street Southwest.

Flames were visible upon arrival. The top floor on the side of the building facing the street is charred, and there is a hole in the roof.

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Watch here for more details as they become available.

Related Topics: FIRES
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