Click here to see a gallery of photos from the fire.
by Joni Astrup
About 40 people were displaced after a fire raced through an Elk River apartment building Thursday morning.
Fire Chief T. John Cunningham said crews were called to the Evans Meadows apartment complex at around 6:30 a.m.
When they arrived, they discovered heavy fire on the back (west) side of one of the apartment buildings, Cunningham said at a press briefing the morning of the fire. “Due to the wind and the extreme weather today, it did carry the fire throughout the building quite rapidly,” he said.
The building is located at 365 Evans Ave.
Everyone got out safely.
Fifteen of the 16 apartments in the building were rented out, according to Police Chief Brad Rolfe.
Residents were evacuated to Guardian Angels at 350 Evans Ave. and to St. Andrew’s Catholic Church at 566 Fourth St., he said.
Later in the day, Elk River Police Capt. Bob Kluntz said everyone had a place to stay.
Justin Araskog, who lives in the apartment building next door, said he woke up about 6:30 a.m. and heard “tons of sirens.”
By the time he got up and went out, he said he started seeing the whole top level of the building on fire.
The fire’s cause has not yet been determined.
Eight fire departments responded to the scene and two other departments provided city and county backup coverage. Cunningham thanked all of the fire and public safety personnel who worked for more than 10 hours at the scene in frigid temperatures.
He said the weather conditions added to the challenge of fighting the fire.
“Fighting a fire obviously is dangerous and unsafe in any conditions,” he said Thursday morning. “We’re at about 7 degrees outside right now. That certainly provides some extremes for our firefighters, our personnel.”
The Elk River Ministerial Association has arranged for St. Andrew’s Catholic Church to be the community-wide donation site for the individuals and families affected by the Evans Meadows apartment fire Thursday morning.
St. Andrew’s Catholic Church is located at 566 Fourth St. NW, Elk River. The church’s phone number is 763-441-1483.
General needs for 40 people (15 apartment units):
Items are also needed for:
For larger donations such as furniture, call ahead to St. Andrew’s or Evans Meadows management (Larry Klein, 763-441-6299).