Smoke and flames badly damaged a $1.5 million home along Lake of the Isles from top to bottom, fire officials said.
The blaze was reported shortly after 8:15 p.m. Thursday at the house in the 2500 block of W. Lake of the Isles Parkway, according to the Fire Department.
The occupants of the century-old home had fled by the time fire crews arrived, fire officials said. One firefighter suffered a minor cut in battling the blaze, and another also required medical attention for a minor injury.
Arriving fire crews first spotted smoke in the home’s basement and then found flames extending through the walls, the Fire Department added.
Within 45 minutes, the blaze had reached the roof, and it took another 45 or so minutes before the fire was brought under control, authorities said.
“[The] cause of origin appears to be accidental,” Assistant Fire Chief Charles Brynteson said in a statement early Friday afternoon, pointing to heat coming from the chimney to flammable material within the ceiling.
The home is owned by Michael Appleman, owner of Edina-based Mobile Diagnostic Imaging Inc. (MDI). The company and dozens of chiropractors were accused in a federal lawsuit filed in October of defrauding Minnesota’s no-fault car insurance system with unnecessary medical procedures and kickbacks to practitioners who ordered them.
The $1.9 million action filed by Illinois Farmers Insurance Co. and some of its subsidiaries against Mobile Diagnostic Imaging, its owner and the chiropractors, is the largest no-fault lawsuit since the law was put in place in 1974, according to the Insurance Federation of Minnesota. At the time of the filing, Appleman refused to comment on the suit.
According to state records, in 2002 the Minnesota Board of Psychology revoked Appleman’s license for altering client records, billing for services not provided, inadequate documentation to substantiate billings and improperly releasing confidential information.