Fire officials say hydrants that had already been cleared of snow were the reason firefighters were able to keep a blaze at a West Fargo home from spreading.

The West Fargo Fire Department was dispatched to a four-alarm fire at a multi-unit building in the 200 block of 9 1/2 Avenue West at 9:40 a.m. Friday, Feb. 14. At the scene, they found heavy smoke coming from the second floor and were told by residents that nobody was inside, according to the fire department.

Fire crews were able to quickly knock down the flames in an upstairs bedroom because nearby hydrants had been cleared of snow and maintained by neighborhood residents, the fire department said. Only one unit in the building was damaged by the fire.

The residents of the damaged unit were displaced and are being helped by the American Red Cross to find new living arrangements. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, the fire department said.

Fire Marshal Dell Sprecher said a structure can become engulfed in flames within 15 minutes, and cleared hydrants save crews critical time when responding. When shoveling out a hydrant, it is best to clear a 3-foot radius around it, he said.