Family left homeless after fireFire engulfed a Red Wing house Monday, leaving a family of four homeless.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
Fire engulfed a Red Wing house Monday, leaving a family of four homeless.
A spokeswoman for residents Rodney and Kari Furlong said the family lost "everything they've ever had" in the fire.
Lisa Acker described the family as "exhausted, tired and overwhelmed."
" ... the shock is wearing off and reality is setting in," Acker said Tuesday, speaking on behalf of the family.
Acker said the fire represents the latest blow in a difficult stretch for the family. Less than a month ago, Rodney Furlong's father died, Acker said.
"They are trying to stay positive and getting through each day with the support of their family and friends, especially during this time of year," she said.
No one was at home at the time of the fire, which did not result in any injuries to firefighters.
The couple's 19-year-old son Cody had left for the day to attend college courses and 15-year-old daughter Sierra had been dropped off at school by her father, who had taken the family dog with them. Kari Furlong was at work when Acker called to notify her of the fire.
The Goodhue County Red Cross was providing housing assistance for the family.
The cause of the fire was undetermined, a joint city-state fire marshal investigation concluded Tuesday. Red Wing Fire Marshal Andy Speltz said it appeared the fire began in the floor space between levels in the home's southeast corner.
Arson is not suspected, Speltz said.
Everything at the home was lost in the fire except for a snowmobile and its trailer, Acker said.
Firefighters were called at 7:54 a.m. to 315 Spring Creek Road for reports of a structure fire.
Red Wing fire Chief Tom Schneider said firefighters were on the scene six minutes after receiving the call and found the house fully engulfed in flames. He said the fire was under control after about 30 minutes.
Fire spread to a neighboring house owned by Dennis Rechtzigel. Schneider said that house received exterior damage.
Firefighters remained at the scene throughout the day, extinguishing hidden pockets of fire at the Furlong house. Schneider said the home was valued at about $299,000.
Schneider, an advocate of mandating fire sprinklers in domestic construction, said modern construction techniques exacerbated the fire's spread.
"Structural components in this type of construction are not capable of withstanding the effects of fire as in older types of construction," Schneider said, referring to narrower and lighter-weight construction materials like the ones found in the Furlong house.
"It's extremely fortunate that everyone was out of this home at the time of the fire. There would have been no possible way to attempt a rescue."
A fund for the family has been established at White Rock Bank. Officials there said donations can be made in the name of "Furlong Fire Fund" at any White Rock Bank location.