Motel fire in Devils Lake injures threeA motel fire in downtown Devils Lake early Saturday that authorities believe was caused by a person sent three people to the hospital with burns, along with a firefighter who was treated for frostbite.
By: By Blake Nicholson, The Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
BISMARCK — A motel fire in downtown Devils Lake early Saturday that authorities believe was caused by a person sent three people to the hospital with burns, along with a firefighter who was treated for frostbite.
Beau Valandra, 28, and his wife, Nicole, 25, of Tokio, were treated at a local hospital and released, Police Detective Sue Schwab said. Their friend, Laura Smith, 36, of Tokio, was flown to a Minneapolis-area burn hospital, where she was listed in critical condition Saturday afternoon.
“At the point when she left she was conscious and speaking,” Schwab said.
Fire Chief Jim Moe said the firefighter who was treated for frostbite is OK.
Moe said the blaze at the City Center Motel shortly before 2 a.m. started in a mattress in a second-floor room of the two-story building. Authorities were still investigating what ignited the mattress, but “I suspect human error,” the chief said.
Schwab said the Valandra couple and Smith were in the room where the blaze started, and apparently were sleeping at the time.
The fire was reported by a police officer out on patrol. Assistant Fire Chief Cory Meyer said it took firefighters about half an hour to get the blaze under control. They remained on the scene for three hours in temperatures that hovered around 20 degrees below zero.
Moe estimated that between 10 and 15 people were in the motel at the time. He said all of them, including the three who were hurt, made it out of the building on their own.
Meyer said the motel suffered significant damage.
“The one room (where the fire started) is a total loss, the rooms adjacent to it were damaged some by fire, and there’s smoke damage in other parts of the wing,” he said.