UPDATE THURSDAY: Millerville house fire spread quicklyA Millerville firefighter was driving along County Road 5 Wednesday afternoon when he noticed smoke rising from a house.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
A Millerville firefighter was driving along County Road 5 Wednesday afternoon when he noticed smoke rising from a house.
At first, he thought it may have been coming from a chimney but it turned out to be much more than that.
The full Millerville Fire Department was paged at 2:44 p.m. When they arrived at 12939 County Road 5 NW, it was not engulfed but they encountered smoke and intense heat, according to Fire Chief Rodney Roers.
“It had been burning for quite a while,” he said.
When they knocked out some windows for ventilation, the oxygen-starved fire took off in a hurry, quickly spreading throughout the two-story structure.
“It was so hot inside, we didn’t have a chance,” Roers said.
The home is owned by Bruce and Nurys Smith. The family wasn’t there at the time but a dog and a cat are believed to have died in the fire.
The house, an older building with a complete basement, is a total loss. “There’s nothing left there,” Roers said. “We saved what we could.”
The Brandon Fire Department was called for mutual aid to provide additional water.
Although a 20-mile-per-hour wind dropped the temperature to about 15-below zero, the cold wasn’t much of a factor in fighting the fire, Roers said.
However, combined with all the water that was used, it did make things slippery. Roers slipped and fell on the ice, hurting his knee. Although he didn’t think anything was wrong at first, he wound up in the emergency room later that night.
No other injuries were reported.
The cause of the fire is not known. Roers said they don’t believe it was suspicious.
Firefighters were at the scene until about 6 p.m. and returned later that night for a flare-up.
“It was one of those things that we’re really happy no one was in there,” Roers said. “We regret the loss of the dog and cat.”
West Central Minnesota Chapter of the American Red Cross was also at the scene.