Weather Forecast


Powerlines crackle during shed fire

Echo Press photo by Al Edenloff Fire consumed a detached shed in the backyard of a rented house at 607 5th Avenue East Thursday. The flames and smoke attracted several bystanders.

Ashes from a fire pit are believed to have started a shed on fire at 607 5th Avenue East in Alexandria Thursday.

When Alexandria firefighters arrived at the scene at about 12:25 p.m., flames were spreading quickly throughout the small structure, sending thick clouds of black smoke into the air and attracting clusters of bystanders.

The fast-moving blaze took down overhead powerlines, setting off sparks of electricity as the lines popped and snapped. A nearby tree also caught fire.

Fire Chief Jeff Karrow said firefighters' first concern was the safety of the bystanders.

Firefighters quickly set up a safety perimeter and made sure that Alexandria Light and Power turned off the electricity before they moved in to douse the blaze.

The shed, which was owned by Dan Thelen, was consumed in a matter of minutes.

The fire melted some of the siding of a neighboring garage and slightly damaged a vehicle that was enclosed in a nearby trailer.

Traffic was rerouted in the area to let firefighters and electrical workers do their job

No injuries were reported.

The house was being rented and a 12-year-old boy who lives there had cleaned out a fire pit that had been used the previous night. He put the ashes in the dirt floor of the shed, Karrow said. The family intended to haul the debris in the shed to the dump but before that happened, the ashes apparently ignited some materials inside.

The shed didn't contain anything of significant value, Karrow said.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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