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Bitter cold makes saving home impossible

Vehicle hulks are about all that remains after a fire started in the garage and consumed the home at 1655 Bluebird Lane, which is in Featherstone Township just south of Twin Bluff Middle School. Goodhue Fire Department responded Monday with a pumper truck and was assisted by Red Wing Fire Department. (Republican Eagle photo by John R. Russett)

A fire, which started in a detached garage in Featherstone Township early Monday morning, decimated a home that continued to burn and smolder throughout the day.

Goodhue Fire Department responded to a call reporting a fire at the home of Nils and Ellis Fauchald, 1655 Bluebird Lane, rural Red Wing, at 12:30 a.m. Monday.

Goodhue Fire Chief Mike Kehren said when they arrived on scene the garage, which was used as a woodshop, was engulfed and smoke was pouring out of the house.

The Fauchalds made it out of the house safely before firefighters arrived.

Kehren said the frigid temperatures combined with wind and very little light made it difficult to fight the fire. The smoke kept shifting with the wind and the water turned to vapor due to the cold temperatures, making it difficult to see, he said.

Pumper engines on a Goodhue truck froze around 1:30 a.m. and the same happened on the Red Wing Fire Department truck shortly before 2 a.m.

By the time the pumpers froze, however, Kehren said the fire had spread into the trusses of the house, which makes it difficult to get to and extinguish. He said the pumpers freezing had little to do with the outcome of the fire.

Jill Fauchald said she is just happy her parents made it out alive.

She said the outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming, especially since her parents are used to taking care of others. He is a retired Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing physician, and his wife is active in the community and their church, First Lutheran.

Even with support from the community it is still hard to grasp the reality of the situation, Jill Fauchald said.

“The magnitude of loss is starting to hit everyone right now,” she said.

Kehren said the preliminary report from the fire marshal was the fire was caused by spontaneous combustion of rags in the woodshop.

Jill Fauchald said her parents are staying at a family friend’s home and there are no plans as to where they go from here.

She said after everything that has happened she is simply grateful everyone is safe.

John R. Russett

John Russett is a regional reporter for RiverTown Multimedia, covering a variety of issues facing RiverTown communities. Previously, he worked at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he reported on education as well as crime and courts. 

You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnRyanRussett


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