Update: Hillside Fire Ruled Arson, Reward Now Being Offered

Laurie Stribling

October 16, 2014 04:30 PM

A $5,000 reward is now being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for an apartment fire, which officials have now determined to be arson.  


Five pets died in the Fourth Street blaze and six people were injured. The Red Cross said 22 people, including children, were displaced by the fire.

If you have any information, authorities ask that you call the Duluth Arson line at 218-730-5080. 

"I just totally lost everything and it's going to be hard to start over again," Leo McEntee said.

McEntee has called the apartment building on East Fourth Street home for the last four years. The six-unit building in Duluth was severely damaged by fire after 1 a.m. Monday.

"All of a sudden my neighbors upstairs come running down and they said to call 911," McEntee said.

McEntee said he told the operator the front porch was on fire and coming through his bedroom.

"We came outside to see nothing but flames," neighbor Greg Young said. "People were running around here screaming, trying to find their family members."

"As he was exiting the building, he fell through a hole," Assistant Fire Chief Clint Reff said.

Reff said the tank the firefighter was wearing kept him from falling all the way through the porch. While all the people inside eventually got out, four cats and a dog died.

"Some of the pets unfortunately didn't make it," Reff said. "We were able to resuscitate one dog. That part ended up well, that we saved one."

Reff said firefighters used the pet resuscitation kit on their truck. One of the unlucky cats belonged to McEntee.

"It will be different; that's all I can say," McEntee said. "Anybody that's ever in a house fire make sure your animals are out."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. The total damage is estimated at more than $100,00.

The Red Cross is helping displaced residents with a hotel in Duluth. You can donate to the Red Cross by visiting their Web site,


Laurie Stribling

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