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Fire displaces apartment complex residents for a night

Farmington fire chief Brian Lindquist, fire marshal John Powers, Lakeville fire marshal Brian Carstensen and building inspector Ken Lewis discuss the Wednesday morning fire.

Residents of Farmington's Centennial Apartments had to find someplace else to sleep Feb. 29 after a fire forced them to evacuate their homes that same morning.

The fire was contained mainly to one second floor unit. Its cause is still under investigation.

The Farmington Fire Department was called to the Centennial Apartments at 1321 Centennial Lane around 9:30 a.m. On arrival, they found a fire in a second-story end unit that faces east. The Lakeville Fire Department was called for assistance.

Firefighters were able to knock down the blaze quickly, and were cleaning up the scene within an hour.

Farmington building inspector Ken Lewis examined the 18-unit apartment complex and determined that the only unit to receive significant damage was the one where the fire had started. However, Lewis was concerned about the presence of carbon monoxide throughout the building, which is why he restricted occupancy overnight.

All of the residents but one had an alternate place to stay, police chief Brian Lindquist said. The Red Cross responded to the scene as well, and helped that resident find somewhere for the night.

Lewis and Farmington fire marshal John Powers allowed residents to go into their units to collect personal belongings for their overnight stay, but otherwise, the building was not open to them until after 9 a.m. Thursday.

Residents in all but one of the units were allowed to return for the following night.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Tuesday's storm knocked out the electricity in the building, and power had been restored about 10 minutes before the fire was reported, Powers said.

According to information Lindquist received from the apartment manager, the occupant of the unit that caught fire had moved out of the building several weeks ago, but did not take all of his belongings. What was left in his apartment burned.

There are no sprinklers in the Centennial Apartment building.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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