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Apartment building burned in Carlton fire demolished Monday

Six and a half months after a grease fire burned out of control and destroyed a downtown Carlton apartment building, professionals demolished it on Monday.

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Six and a half months after a grease fire burned out of control and destroyed a downtown Carlton apartment building, professionals demolished it on Monday.

The few locals on hand to witness the razing of the boarded-up Thorman Apartment Building at 221 Chestnut Avenue were glad to see it go, saying it was "about time," and that it had become "an eyesore."

Workers from Veit, a specialty contracting and waste management company, brought the building down using an excavator. They had to use caution with the wall connecting the apartment building to the Third Base Bar, which was also damaged in the fire.

"They did an excellent job," said Shirley Thorman, owner of the apartment building.

Thirteen people lost their homes in the fire and one of the residents, 50-year-old Lois Smith, was charged with negligent fire. She later pleaded guilty to that charge and was sentenced to enter an alcohol treatment program and three years probation. Smith apologized for the incident during sentencing in Carlton County District Court in February.

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On Dec. 13, Smith and a friend had been drinking at the Third Base Bar until early in the morning. The two returned to Smith's apartment and began cooking some sliced potatoes in a pan of oil. An argument ensued and Smith's friend left the apartment. Smith fell asleep in the kitchen and the grease caught fire. All the residents escaped without injury.

Firefighters had been called to Smith's apartment previously for similar reasons, according to Steve White, Carlton Fire Department chief, and no charges had been filed.

Currently, Thorman said they have no immediate plans for the site.

"We just wanted to get the building down," she said. "It's a nice site. We're looking at options but are just going to take it easy for awhile."

Pine Journal Editor Lisa Baumann can be contacted at: lbaumann@pinejournal.com .

Related Topics: CARLTONFIRES
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