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Updated: Home burns near Courtenay

Members of the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office and Courtenay Rural Fire Protection District talk with the residents of a rural Courtenay home following a fire on Friday. Tom LaVenture / The Sun1 / 2
Members of the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office and Courtenay Rural Fire Protection District talk with the residents of a rural Courtenay home following a fire on Friday. Tom LaVenture / The Sun2 / 2

COURTENAY, N.D. -- Official word on whether a rural Courtenay family of seven will be able to remain in their farm house following a fire on Friday is not yet known, according to Gretchen Hjelmstad, chief communications officer for the American Red Cross Dakotas Region office in Fargo.

“I’m not aware of the extent of the damage, but the Red Cross is providing emergency lodging at a local hotel through the weekend thanks to our Rooms for Red Cross program,” Hjelmstad said. “Our volunteers are out there meeting with them to assess their needs and to provide whatever assistance is appropriate.”

The owner of the home at 8645 16th St. SE reported the fire to Stutsman County Communications Center at 10:20 a.m. Courtenay Rural Fire Protection District responded with approximately 11 firefighters and four trucks, said Steven Somsen, fire chief.

The fire was electrical in nature, Somsen said. The fire was likely caused by either a ceiling fan or light in the kitchen, he said.

The fire department returned to base at 11:15 a.m., but the homeowner called again about a possible flare up at 11:27 a.m., Somsen said. A children’s electronic item was found smouldering, but there was no flare up of the house fire, he said.

The fire department left the scene for the second time at 11:52 a.m., Somsen said. The fire damage was not extensive, but it’s too soon to say if the home will be habitable during repairs of the fire, smoke and water damage, if and when cleaning and repairs are made, he said.

Jeff Wolsky, a volunteer with the Jamestown Red Cross office, met with the family of two adults and five children lived at the residence to determine what assistance might be needed, Hjelmstad said. The family received financial assistance to help buy food, clothing or other essentials lost in the fire, along with comfort kits containing basic toiletry items, she said.

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