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Fatal Bismarck apartment fire being investigated
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Fatal Bismarck apartment fire being investigated

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A fire Tuesday night at an apartment building on Portland Drive in south Bismarck left a 72-year-old man dead.

Police and fire officials are investigating a fatal apartment fire in Bismarck.

Firefighters responded to the 12-unit building in the 1000 block of Portland Drive shortly after 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The initial arriving crew found heavy smoke coming from the 2 ½-story apartment building and fire showing from a second-floor balcony.

Residents were evacuated. Firefighters found an unresponsive person in the apartment where the fire started. An ambulance crew on scene declared the person dead. Police identified him as James Mulfinger, 72, of Bismarck. An autopsy was ordered, and the cause of death is under investigation, according to Lt. Luke Gardiner.

Twenty-two firefighters responded, along with police, ambulance crews and the Crisis Care Chaplaincy. No other injuries to residents or firefighters were reported.

There was heavy fire and smoke damage throughout the apartment where the blaze started, and light smoke damage to neighboring apartment units. The building's concrete construction was a factor in the fire not spreading beyond the apartment of origin, according to Bismarck Fire Marshal Owen Fitzsimmons.

Some residents were displaced. Authorities didn't immediately say how many.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by city police and fire officials and the state fire marshal. 

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