After Mandan Fire, How Safe Are Local Apartments?


MANDAN – With Sunday’s big apartment fire in Mandan still fresh in everyone’s mind, some are questioning how safe they would be should a fire break out in their own apartment building.

“What we want to avoid is kind of a knee jerk reaction, where we’re gonna get real strict on things real quickly, We want to take a step back take a look at it and see if there’s anything we can change”, Shawn Ouradnik, a Mandan Building Official.

But what about the next fire, watching the fire closeup Sunday made KX News wonder about the safety and construction rules for buildings like that.

Grace Renner is a single mother, and lives in a nearly identical building in Mandan. She tells KX News it’s been on her mind since Sunday…

“The biggest concern for me is that people are using grills on their deck and I can see that from my third floor apartment, I can see there’s barbecues and grills on people’s porches and that is concerning, considering we are asked when we move in, not to put those things on our porches”, said Mandan Resident Grace Renner.

KX News took concerns and questions to Mandan City Officials, and the answers we found were surprising.

Because according to the city’s building official, the building that burned Sunday did exactly what it was supposed to do.

“For the most part, yeah, I mean for something like this, some things with the spread of the fire through the roofing system I wish would have been as quick as it was but the important thing is that it’s contained within the roofing system and doesn’t spread to the rest of the building where the tenants are. So if it takes out the roofing system it’s an unoccupied space, it’s the best case scenario in something like this,” said Ouradnik.

He adds the fire suppression system failed to initiate sooner because the fire got into the attic first where no such system is installed, now that might be something that could change in the future…

“It may be something we’re looking into adopting, but it’s nothing that we feel a need for at this moment, its is warranting taking a look at and stuff like that we may do something in the future if we see a need for it but one event may not trigger it, but it’s always worth looking at.”

He adds there’s no handbook for building the perfect fire-resistant building, but that with every fire they hope to learn a little more in the hopes of saving future lives.

Mandan building officials also say based on the way those apartment buildings are constructed, it can most likely be repaired and reopened without having to be torn down completely first.

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