Weather Forecast


Fire damages Welch home; no injuries reported

Smoke billows from a house in Welch Township Thursday morning. A fire caused major damage to the roof and a top-floor living space. The homeowner evacuated safely.

WELCH -- A fire destroyed an upper-level living space and caused major smoke damage to a house in Welch Township Thursday morning, the Red Wing Fire Department reported. There were no injuries.

Homeowner Gary Miller was alerted to the fire by smoke alarms and called 911 around 9:40 a.m., officials said. Firefighters and paramedics were on the scene at 6170 Bunch Road within 10 minutes.

It appears the fire started near a wood-burning fireplace on the north side of the house, Red Wing Fire Chief Tom Schneider said. "It looks like it was either a chimney failure or ignition of a wood facade around the chimney."

The exact cause of the fire is under investigation.

Most of the fire damage was contained to the roof and top floor, but the rest of the house sustained heavy smoke and water damage, Schneider said. It is still too early to tell if the main structure of the house will be salvageable.

Miller was the only person home at the time. His wife, Dace Miller, arrived a short time later. The couple did not immediately respond to a written request for comment.

Red Wing Fire Department had the fire under control after an hour, and it was extinguished after around two hours, Schneider said.

Eight full-time firefighters and five paid-on-call firefighters responded to the scene. Miesville Fire Department also provided assistance and additional water.

Thursday's fire was the second area house fire in a week. A blaze destroyed a rural Red Wing home Saturday March 23.

The American Red Cross is assisting the Millers with food and shelter.

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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