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No cause determined for lake home fire

A resident who lives near the scene of the fire at 2580 County Road 120 NE took this photo of the fire minutes before firefighters arrived on the scene. (Contributed photo)

An August 12 fire at a Lake L'Homme Dieu home remains under investigation but it's likely a cause won't be found because the fire destroyed practically everything.

When contacted Tuesday for an update on the fire, Carlos Fire Chief Mike Trinka said the house owned by Dr. Steven Longbotham and his wife, Dr. Sandra Johnson, was a total loss.

"There's nothing much left there to investigate," he said, adding that a state fire marshal visited the scene but he hasn't heard back from him.

Firefighters were able to save a three-stall garage and breezeway attached to the home but the house itself was so damaged that it was bulldozed down.

When firefighters arrived on scene at 2580 County Road 120 NE shortly before 2 p.m., the west side of the house facing the lake was engulfed in flames and smoke.

"We ended up just trying to protect the breezeway and cool the hot spots," he said. "The fire was spreading two levels above ground and there were multiple ceilings that we couldn't get water to."

Firefighters took action against a possible explosion by contacting CenterPoint Energy to pinch off the gas lines on the north side of the house.

Carlos firefighters were on scene for more than five hours, receiving mutual aid from the Alexandria and Miltona fire departments.

Firefighters were able to rescue two dogs from the blaze but two cats were lost.

"I want to thank the Alexandria and Miltona departments for helping out," Trinka said. "Nobody got hurt and everyone went home safe."

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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