Man dies of injuries from fire

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 11, 2002

An Albert Lea man died Thursday of injuries sustained in an apartment fire earlier in the day.

Jay Arnold Bergland, 37, died at Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was taken for treatment of smoke inhalation after the overnight fire.

Bergland suffered heavy injuries from breathing in smoke from the smoldering fire. He was not burned in the fire, police said.

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Two Albert Lea police officers also suffered from smoke inhalation, but neither injury was serious.

The fire, put out shortly after crews arrived around 3 a.m., may have been caused by an accident, Albert Lea Fire Department Chief Richard Sydnes said Thursday.

The blaze apparently started in the bedroom of the first-floor unit where Bergland lived.

Sydnes said the origin could have been a cigarette, candle or electric extension cords, although investigators are still looking into the cause.

Bergland was found near an exit door when firefighters rushed into the unit. Another exit, closer to the bedroom where Bergland was presumably sleeping, was blocked by a refrigerator.

Rescue crews were able to revive him at the scene, and he was airlifted to Hennepin County for treatment.

The Landmark Apartments on the east edge of Fourth Street accommodate 12 units on the top three floors and two on the basement level. Other residents of the building were displaced until around noon Tuesday.