Wind-Fanned Fire Destroys Minnesota Home

A fast-burning fire destroyed a new Blaine home Tuesday, accelerated by 35-mph winds that fanned flames against the home's vinyl siding.

No one was injured, but the house is a total loss, said Nyle Zikmund, chief of the Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View Fire Department. The house at 120th Street and Waconia Circle was less than 6 months old.

"In my 23 years, I don't think I've seen a structure consumed so rapidly," Zikmund said.

Investigators aren't sure if the fire started inside the house or out, but Zikmund believes the fire reached the fiberboard sheathing material and vinyl siding. Tuesday's winds created a "blowtorch effect," he said, and the fire quickly reached the attic and roof.

By the time the Ham Lake Fire Department chief arrived, about 3 minutes after the call came in at 2:10 p.m., flames was already shooting from the windows.

The structure partially collapsed within 30 minutes, he said. None of the furnishings were salvaged, although Zikmund said that using special equipment, firefighters may find the odd memento for the young couple, who have two small children.

A woman at home managed to get out with the family dog. The family will have to seek temporary housing elsewhere, Zikmund said, and were referred to the American Red Cross.

Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View firefighters were assisted by the Ham Lake, Fridley and Centennial fire departments. It took about 50 firefighters more than two hours to extinguish the flames.

Zikmund estimated the loss at $500,000, with furnishings. Damage to a neighboring house was limited to the vinyl siding, he said.

The cause may be known as soon as today, he said.

Distributed by the Associated Press