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Morning fire prompts evacuation at senior apartments

Brainerd firefighters respond to flames on a deck of a third-floor apartment at Autumn Glenn in Baxter. No injuries were reported but third-floor residents were evacuated as a precaution. Renee Richardson/Brainerd Dispatch1 / 3
Damage was contained to the deck of a third-floor senior apartment building along Excelsior Road in Baxter. Renee Richardson/Brainerd Dispatch2 / 3
Brainerd firefighters wrap up work Friday morning at Autumn Glenn in Baxter. Renee Richardson/Brainerd Dispatch3 / 3

BAXTER—Passing motorists on Excelsior Road saw flames on a third-floor deck of a senior apartment complex Friday morning, alerting emergency responders to the Autumn Glenn complex in Baxter.

The fire was reported about 7:20 a.m.

At the scene, Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted said residents on the third floor were evacuated as a precaution. Many had multiple questions as they were temporarily relocated. The 50-unit apartment building has about 16 units on each floor.

Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes said the fire was contained to the deck but flames were climbing the wall and around the glass deck door, as well as a window when he arrived on scene. Holmes got the call when he just blocks away from the building. He said deck sprinkler played an important role in keeping the fire contained. The woman living in the apartment was also working to put the fire using a container or bowl filled with water when firefighters arrived.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire.

The deck remained secure to walk on, Holmes said. Siding was removed around the deck. The torn aqua-colored barrier wrap, formerly underneath the siding, flapped in the morning breeze. The area around the deck doors was charred black and holes were cut above the deck to access the attic. Holiday decorations hung from the deck rail, trailing down to lower floors.

The second floor resident's deck just below the fire, complete with chairs and potted plant, appeared undisturbed. No injuries were reported.

Karen Struthers, community manager for Autumn Glenn, said all the residents were fine. She said the apartment occupant was with family and the complex residents would now have conversation fodder for the weekend. It was too early to determine the extent of the damage in terms of a dollar amount, Struthers said.