CALEDONIA, MINN. – A woman died Christmas morning when fire broke out in a trailer park in southeastern Minnesota, Houston County fire authorities said Thursday.
The Caledonia volunteer fire department was called to a trailer park just after 1 a.m. Wednesday. Firefighters arrived a few minutes later to find one home 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.
Neighbors alerted residents of the second home and helped them evacuate.
The woman who died lived in the first home. Her name hasn’t been released pending notification of relatives.
Gavin said the cause of the fire remains under investigation, but officials suspect an electrical problem in the woman’s home. He said foul play is not suspected.
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 said.
“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. 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 just a tough thing to go through.”
Caledonia is a town of about 3,000 residents in the southeastern corner of the state.