A Thursday afternoon fire in downtown Faribault severely damaged one apartment and caused light to moderate smoke damage in an adjacent apartment and first floor business.

But despite reports that people may have been trapped in a second-story Central Avenue apartment, emergency responders didn’t find anyone in either apartment.

Faribault Police and Fire departments and North Memorial Ambulance responded to the fire shortly after 3:30 p.m., following reports of heavy smoke coming from a second-story window.

According to Faribault Fire Chief Dustin Dienst, when fire fighters arrived they saw smoke coming from the building. Faribault Police officers exiting the building said they could hear voices and pounding in an upstairs apartment, but no one was found inside then or during a second search.

“A quick knock down was made with ventilation and (with a) search for fire extension starting shortly thereafter. A secondary search of both apartments was performed by additional fire crews as they arrived on scene. Overhaul was started along with an initial fire cause investigation. The apartment where the fire started suffered heavy damage and the other apartment and the commercial areas had light to moderate smoke damage,” said Dienst..

The Faribault Police and Fire departments and the State Fire Marshal’s Office conducted an investigation of the fire. Results will be released when the investigation is complete.

“When the report of a fire in a downtown apartment with people trapped comes into the fire station many thoughts go through your mind. Thankfully no one was injured by this fire and the damage was contained to the apartment of origin,” said Dienst.

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