Sunday's fatal fire in Duluth is being investigated as "accidental"

Updated: April 05, 2021 09:21 PM
Created: April 05, 2021 05:41 PM

The Duluth Fire Department is currently investigating Sunday afternoon’s fatal fire at a 3rd Street apartment building as “accidental”.

This was the second fatal fire at 631 E 3rd Street within the last 9 months.

"In both cases, to this point, we have not found anything that would lead us to believe that the building or any of the building's components had anything to do with these fires," explained Deputy Chief of Life Safety Jon Otis. “"The building last fall was initially condemned. There were two rooms that were mostly affected, though. The condemnation order was lifted on 6 of the 8 units until January of this year when our life safety team got back into the building and they did a re-inspection and the condemnation was lifted from all units. At the time of that inspection, everything was compliant."

Following Sunday’s incident, the unit where the fire took place is now condemned. Deputy Chief Otis did note that this was not the same unit where August’s fire took place.

Otis also said Sunday’s fire could have potentially been worse if it wasn’t for the building’s smoke alarm system that quickly alerted the fire department as well the buildings other tenants.

"We cannot stress enough how important it is to have working smoke detectors," he started. "The minutes that are saved can literally save a life. In this case, in a building that's occupied with multiple occupants, the fact that we lost one person is tragic, but [the smoke alarm] certainly could have prevented much more."

The identity of Sunday’s casualty is still being withheld from the public pending next of kin notification.

Otis said the department should be able to release more information, such as an exact cause of the fire, after the autopsy report is completed.  That information is currently expected next week.

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