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Published January 25, 2011, 12:20 AM

Investigation Of Roughrider Apartment Fire Begins

Preliminary damage estimates nearly $800,000
Fire marshals are on the scene at 2530 17th Ave. South and have been since the initial fire started Thursday night. The fire then rekindled overnight, leaving the complex totaled, with ice from the long firefight leaving a thick coating on the building.

The investigation started looking into the exact cause of the fire that broke out at a Grand Forks Apartment complex started Monday.

The fire department says the blaze at the Roughrider Apartment building was caused by unattended cooking, but they have a much more investigating to do.

Fire marshals are on the scene at 2530 17th Ave. South and have been since the initial fire started Thursday night. The fire then rekindled overnight, leaving the complex totaled, with ice from the long firefight leaving a thick coating on the building.

Higher Damage Estimate

City officials say the new preliminary damage estimate is nearly $800,000 including damage to the building and contents. Although the cause of the fire has been determined as unattended cooking, the investigation continues.

"We go up in there, have a look. I'll be taking some pictures to document where I think it started and how. We'll be looking at electrical wiring up in there, how the building collapsed or the roof came in," Fire Marshal Bruce Hoeger said.

Marshals say unattended cooking is usually accidental, but a person can be charged with endangerment by fire depending on what they find during the investigation.

Sometimes finding the cause takes a while.

"Finding out why it started, finding out where is usually pretty easy, but finding out why can be difficult at times," Hoeger said.

All units on the 3rd floor of the complex were destroyed by the fire. The 1st and 2nd floors mainly have water damage. Firefighters are unsure of how long they will remain on the scene.

"We'll stay until the Marshal's office gives the OK to release the property back to the owner," Grande said.

The State Fire Marshal is helping with the investigation.

Firefighters remain on the scene to make sure no one enters the building in case of collapse.

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