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Residents evacuate downtown apartment building during fire

Stacy Folger was watching "Little House on the Prairie" on TV Monday early afternoon when she heard someone knocking on the door loudly of her apartment located above the Last Turn Saloon in downtown Brainerd.

Brainerd firefighters exit The Last Turn Saloon in downtown Brainerd Monday following a report of smoke in an upstairs apartment building. It turned out the fire started in the dryer.
Brainerd firefighters exit The Last Turn Saloon in downtown Brainerd Monday following a report of smoke in an upstairs apartment building. It turned out the fire started in the dryer.

Stacy Folger was watching "Little House on the Prairie" on TV Monday early afternoon when she heard someone knocking on the door loudly of her apartment located above the Last Turn Saloon in downtown Brainerd.

It was the building's maintenance man/apartment resident Kevin Christensen warning her to get out of the apartment as there was smoke coming down the hallway. Christensen had just arrived back home when he saw the smoke. He said he called the owner, who called 911, and then he knocked on all 10 apartment unit doors to tell residents to evacuate.

"I pounded very loudly," Christensen said. "There were 10 doors and two came out. The smoke was so thick and was coming out of the laundry room."

The Brainerd Fire Department was called at 1:25 p.m. and arrived with a ladder truck, two tanker trucks and about a dozen firefighters. Brainerd police officers and North Memorial Ambulance also responded to the scene.

Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes said when firefighters arrived they found smoke in the hallway which came from the laundry room. Firefighters found burned items in the dryer. Holmes said the fire appeared to be caused by the mixture of the contents in the dryer and the dryer itself. The fire was not suspicious in nature.

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Folger said when she was alerted about the smoke she looked out the door and saw it. She said she did a few quick things and then exited her apartment and said the smoke had already gone down most of the hallway.

"The smoke was coming fast and my eyes instantly burned," she said. "I was freaked out a bit."

Another resident, Miranda Moss, said she was sleeping when she heard pounding on the door.

"I didn't answer the door right away and when I did I saw the smoke," Moss said. "I came out and saw all the fire trucks."

Folger said she didn't know how the fire started, but said they just fixed the roof of the apartment and updated the laundry room. Folger said residents have come and gone from the apartment building and she doesn't know them all, but met some Monday.

"This is a funny way to get to know each other," she said.

The fire was extinguished quickly and residents were allowed back to their apartment.

It was reported the smoke detectors were not working.

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JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at jennifer.stockinger@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5851. Follow me at www.twitter.com/jennewsgirl on Twitter.

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