Man dies in house fireA 75-year-old man died Thursday night when a fire broke out at his house at 433 Spring Creek Road S. in Red Wing.
By: Sarah Gorvin and Danielle Nordine, The Republican Eagle
A 75-year-old man died Thursday night when a fire broke out at his house at 433 Spring Creek Road S. in Red Wing.
An autopsy performed Friday confirmed that Donald Max Peterson died of smoke inhalation, Red Wing Fire Capt. Scott Will said. Peterson was the only person in the home at the time of the fire.
A neighbor had called 911 after noticing a large amount of smoke in the area and flames venting out of the house. Firefighters and paramedics responded around 8:30 p.m. and found the main floor of the house engulfed.
“It’s a bad sign when fires escape by themselves,” Will said, explaining that once fires blow out windows, there is “extreme heat.”
Will said the house had been burning for quite some time before crews arrived. He added that the house’s location a couple hundred feet back from the main road may have caused the fire to go unnoticed before the house was engulfed.
Jamie Roschen, who lives just a few houses down from Peterson’s residence, said she first noticed police lights and then saw the flames from her bedroom window.
“I said, ‘Do they need to tell us to evacuate the house?’” Roschen said. “It was so big.”
It took about two hours to extinguish the fire, the fire department reported. Crews were at the residence for more than four hours, and 23 firefighters were on scene.
Authorities believe the fire started in the kitchen, but the cause is still under investigation. The state fire marshal is also investigating the blaze, which Will said is common practice when there is a fatality. Yellow caution tape still surrounded the house Friday afternoon.
The last fire-related death in Goodhue County was in 2008, according to the state fire marshal. An apartment fire that December in Kenyon killed 64-year-old Alan Howard Thuman. The cause was listed as smoking.
Statewide, 2010 saw a 15 percent increase in fire-related deaths from 2009, according to a recent report from the fire marshal. About 49 percent of all structure fires started in the kitchen, usually from cooking or an open flame.