Update: Alexandria firefighters battle mobile home fire in below-zero temperatures on McKay Avenue

The fire occurred after a portable heater was used to thaw frozen pipes underneath the home. No injuries were reported.

Alexandria firefighters work to extinguish a mobile home fire a Hustad Mobile Home Park on Thursday, Jan. 6. Thalen Zimmerman / Alexandria Echo Press

ALEXANDRIA — A mobile home caught fire at Hustad Mobile Home Park a little after 3 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 6, after a portable heater was used to thaw frozen pipes underneath the home, according to authorities.

With wind chill, temperatures were -36 at the time of the fire.

Jeff Karrow, fire chief for the Alexandria Fire Department, said Captain Karl Seanger was the first to arrive on the scene at 3:17 p.m. after a caller reported that smoke was billowing from the home.

The fire took place at 215 McKay Avenue, the Hustad Mobile Home Park, lot 7. The home belongs to Austin Brush of Alexandria, who was not home at the time of the fire.

Smoke and flames were visible when the fire department arrived, and 8,500 gallons of water were used to put out the fire.


Due to the extreme cold, water had to pump through the hoses constantly to prevent freezing. The city was notified to sand the roads due to the water freezing in the streets.

The cause of the fire originated underneath the home due to a heater, according to Karrow. Brush was using the heater in the crawl space underneath his home to thaw frozen pipes.

The extreme cold covered Fire Captain, Eric Bjerke, in a layer of frost at a mobile home fire off Mckay Avenue on Jan. 6. Contributed photo

Karrow said this is the first structure fire of the year in Alexandria.

"This isn't the first time we have responded to this kind of accident," said Karrow in reference to the heater. "But it is the first of this year."

Karrow estimates the damage to be around $10,000.

A temporary home was found for Brush, and the American Red Cross will be in touch with him to provide food, water and other assistance as needed.


Responding agencies included the Alexandria Fire Department, the Alexandria Police Department, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, and North Memorial Ambulance, which arrived on standby in case of injuries. Alexandria Light and Power came to shut off the power to the trailer.

Thalen Zimmerman of Alexandria joined the Echo Press team as a full-time reporter in Aug. 2021, after graduating from Bemidji State University with a bachelor of science degree in mass communication in May of 2021.
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