Eagan man ‘incredibly grateful’ to find engagement ring unharmed after fire at townhome complex

Eagan man incredibly grateful to find engagement ring unharmed after fire at townhome complex

Eagan man incredibly grateful to find engagement ring unharmed after fire at townhome complex

Several people were displaced by an early-morning fire at an Eagan townhome complex on Wednesday.

Despite the damage, an Eagan man impacted by the blaze is just grateful his most prized possession wasn’t destroyed.

A 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS photographer captured video of the significant damage done at Forest Ridge Townhomes by the flames, which were reported at around 2:30 a.m. The roof of the three-story townhome building also collapsed.

Some residents woke up to the fire alarms while others were roused from their slumber by firefighters banging on their doors and telling them they had to leave the building.

“I just got off work,” said Paul Vang, a resident of the building. “As soon as I got in the garage, it started to smell like cigarettes. I didn’t think too much of it, and then I got inside, I ate, used the bathroom and then I just heard the sirens and just ran outside.”

Another resident, David Blood, says his brother, James, woke him before firefighters arrived.

“My brother came to my door and was like, ‘We’ve got to go.’ I was just dazed and confused,” David Blood said.

They got out and then watched firefighters try to save their homes and belongings. James realized he also left something special inside.

“I have a girlfriend right next to me; I have the engagement ring in there,” he said.

James had to wait for hours to see if the ring survived.

“Some people will be able to go back into some into the units, some will be displaced for a while,” Kip Springer, deputy chief for the Eagan Fire Department, said.

Springer added that 16 units were affected by the fire, with two or three having heavy damage caused by fire, smoke and water. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.

When they were able to get back inside later in the day, the ring was on James’ mind.

“Where the ring was, it was just rubble, rubble everywhere,” James Blood explained.

He opened up the box and found the ring wasn’t only still inside, but also unharmed.

“I’m incredibly grateful that nothing happened to this, as it’s the most thing I own right now,” he told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

Now, he can focus on getting the right answer from his girlfriend.

“I know that’s the hard part, it’s just getting on one knee and convincing her,” Blood said.

Many of the tenants could be seen in their vehicles to keep warm early Wednesday, wearing robes, pajamas and slippers and just waiting to hear an update from firefighters. Metro Transit buses were also brought in to keep people warm.

The Red Cross was called to help displaced families find resources.

Springer says his team got help from Burnsville, Inver Grove Heights, Apple Valley and South Metro crews in battling the two-alarm blaze.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Firefighters battle flames at an Eagan townhome complex on Nov. 29, 2023. (Credit: Jeff Ernewein/KSTP-TV)