Wayzata fire injures 2, displaces 10

  • Article by: JOY POWELL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 20, 2010 - 9:50 PM

A townhouse blaze left two people with smoke inhalation. The four units likely will be torn down.

Wayzata's fire chief on Saturday credited smoke alarms with helping save the lives of 10 people who were routed from their adjacent townhouses by an overnight fire, with a couple of them suffering smoke inhalation.

While the cause remains under investigation, early indications are that the fire may have started in a garage of one of the four townhouses, said Fire Chief Kevin Klapprich. The townhouses are connected, side by side, and each is three stories tall, with the lowest floor being a tuck-under garage for each.

One adult in the townhouse where the fire started and one in another unit were treated at Hennepin County Medical Center for smoke inhalation.

The fire was reported at 12:40 a.m. Saturday, and people were in every one of the townhouses -- eight adults and two children, the fire chief said.

The small strip of townhouses are east of Wayzata's downtown area, on Hampton Street near the intersection with LaSalle Street.

When firefighters arrived, two of the townhouses were engulfed and a third on the south end of the complex was half-consumed by fire. All four units had fire damage, Klapprich said, because the fire spread quickly through a common attic, burning away the roof.

Klapprich said he believes the complex will have to be torn down. The American Red Cross was helping at least one of the families with food, lodging and other needs.

Though all the residents lost their homes, Klapprich said, it was lucky that every life was spared. "That's the good thing," he said. "Everybody got out, and the two who had smoke inhalation went in and got treated and released, and no firefighters got hurt."

Hennepin County fire investigators and the state fire marshal's office began probing the charred scene shortly after daybreak. Wayzata police Lt. Mike Murphy said there was nothing to indicate a suspicious origin.

Klapprich said the residents' escape points to the great value of having working smoke and fire detectors. "They don't cost that much," he said, "and they can save lives."

Joy Powell • 952-882-9017

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