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House damaged in Thursday night fire

At 7:48 p.m. Thursday, the Bemidji Fire Department responded to a house fire at 1604 Fifth St. N.E.

No one was injured in the blaze. However, a cat was lost.

Kay Mack, who owns the rental property with her husband, Larry, said the house is significantly damaged and possibly totaled.

Upon arrival, firefighters found medium to heavy smoke coming from the south side of the house. They entered through the south door attacking the fire first in the kitchen and the bedroom where it started. The department used about 300 gallons of water and responded with 35 firefighters, two pumpers, two pickups, a squad car, ladder trucks and a tanker.

Firefighters returned several times during the night to check for and extinguish hot spots.

The renters, Jason and Kay Weems, told firefighters the cause of the fire. Their 5-year-old son found a lighter on top of the microwave, according to the fire department report. He took the lighter to a bedroom closet where he knew there were sparklers. He lit a sparkler, which started the fire. The fire spread to the bedroom and kitchen. There is heavy smoke damage throughout the house. The family doesn't have renters' insurance. Mack said they are staying with relatives.

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