No one injured in local fire

by Emma Carew

Minneapolis firefighters responded to a house fire at 635 Ontario St. S.E. on Saturday night.

No injuries were reported and the house’s five occupants, according to Minneapolis dispatch, are refusing Red Cross assistance.

The residents appeared to receive support at the scene from people they knew.

Dispatch received the 911 call about the fire at 7:37 p.m., officials said.

The fire damaged the first floor and part of the second of the two-story duplex, home to five University sophomores, Minneapolis Fire Battalion Chief John Szczech said.

Calling the incident “a typical house fire,” Szczech said it was under control 10 minutes after firefighters arrived at the scene.

An hour after the call was made, smoke could still be seen billowing from the front door.

University sophomore Rachel Gage said when the fire began she and all but one of the occupants were on the second floor.

Occupants began to smell smoke from the first floor, Gage said, when another began yelling about smoke.

The occupants of the house called 911 after smoke filled the first floor, Gage said.

Greg Vierling, international business and marketing sophomore, said the fire started in his bedroom.

A lamp hanging in his closet likely started the fire, he said.

“Greg’s room is gone,” Gage said.

When he came to the first floor to investigate, Vierling said he looked in his closet and noticed smoke coming from the lamp on the floor.

Occupants didn’t see any flames, but Vierling said there were embers around the lamp.

When he tried to take the lamp and other items outside, the fire intensified, Vierling said.

“(It) seemed pretty small,” he said. “Then all of a sudden it went crazy.”

When the occupants left the house, they didn’t take anything with them, he said.

Gage said computers, clothes, wallets and other personal belongings were lost in the fire.

“It’s all gone,” Gage said. “I hope my papers are delayed. I’m trying not to think about it.”