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Osakis native loses home and two children in fire

A farmhouse in Lucan, Minnesota, went up in flames in the early afternoon on December 4. The home was of Matthew and Bernadette Thooft and their seven children. Hazel, 7, and her brother Isaiah, 4, were both lost to the fire.

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Bernadette is a graduate from Osakis. Her parents are Don (deceased) and Barb DeCann of Osakis.

Hazel, a twin, was attending second grade at St. Anne’s Catholic School in Wabasso. A family friend described her as fun-spirited and helpful.

Isaiah attended preschool twice a week at “Cottontail” in the Wabasso School District. Wabasso Superintendent Wade McKittrick said Isaiah had a contagious smile and was full of energy and wit.

Several fundraisers have started for the family. Cheryl Geihl started a campaign at The United Way of Southwest Minnesota and the 1st Independent Bank of Lucan also have been collecting donations for the Thoofts.

Vesta Firefighter Neal Hansen was also injured during the incident when he slipped and his legs were run over by a fire truck. He was transported to a hospital in Mankato where he had surgery on both legs. Hansen will be in recovery for about three months.

Annie Harman
Annie Harman is a reporter for Echo Press and The Osakis Review. She grew up in Detroit Lakes and graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire with a degree in print journalism and history in May 2012. Follow her on Twitter at annieharman
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