Potting Soil Sparks Minnesota House Fire

Minnesota firefighters had their hands full when they were dispatched to a deck fire in Mendota Heights on July 8.

Crews from Mendota Heights were dispatched at 10:23 a.m. and within a minute, additional reports included the house was on fire. Almost immediately, mutual aid was requested from the Inver Grove Heights and Eagan Fire Departments.

A young woman who was asleep in the house, just below the fires origin, was awoken by passersby who safely removed her from the house. While they tried in vane to contain the fire, one neighbor removed a car and motorcycle from the garage.

Mendota Heights Engine 10 arrived within six minutes and Ladder 10 was seconds behind, with Firefighter Jaime Lerbs assuming command. Crews encountered heavy fire from sides Alpha, Charlie and Delta, with smoke showing from all levels.

Crews mounted an attack from the front and rear of the structure, using 1 1/2-inch and 2 1/2-inch hoselines.

The fire was ruled accident, and was likely to be the spontaneous combustion of potting soil on the back deck. Fire melted the plastic flower pot and plastic table, which impinged on the fuel line for a gas grill, which helped the fire rapidly extend.

Fire crews were assisted by the Mendota Heights Public Works Department, the Mendota Heights and West Saint Paul Police Departments and medical coverage was provided by Health East.