Woman dies in fire at SE Minn. trailer park
- Associated Press
- December 26, 2013 - 12:40 PM
CALEDONIA, Minn. — A fire broke out in a trailer park in southeastern Minnesota early Christmas morning, leaving one woman dead and two homes destroyed, Houston County fire authorities said Thursday.
The Caledonia volunteer fire department was called to a trailer park Wednesday just after 1 a.m. Firefighters arrived a few minutes later to find one home fully engulfed by the blaze, Fire Chief Chuck Gavin said.
"The wind had pushed it into the second home, and it was heading for a third," Gavin said. "This could have been a very big tragedy."
Neighbors alerted residents of the second home and helped them evacuate.
The woman who died lived in the first home. Her name wasn't released pending notification of relatives. An autopsy was being conducted to determine her cause of death.
Gavin said the cause of the fire was still under investigation, but officials suspect a possible electrical issue in the woman's home. He said foul play was not suspected.
Both homes were a complete loss.
Phillip Foster, who lived in the second home, said he lost almost everything. About all he was able to salvage were some birth certificates and personal documents he had stored in a fire safe, he told KTTC-TV.
"I was in the far side of the house and I smelled smoke," he said. "So I came to this side of the house and looked out the window and see this trailer was completely in flames."
Gavin said 26 firefighters, all volunteers, responded to the fire. They spent five hours on the scene in 5-degree weather, a difficult way to start Christmas morning, he said.
"It's hard on everyone involved, especially in a tragedy like this where a loss of life occurred," Gavin said. "It's horrible. It's just a tough thing to go through."
Caledonia is a town of about 3,000 residents in the southeast corner of the state. It's about 25 miles southwest of La Crosse, Wis.
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