The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 21, 2014

Pellet stove fire displaces St. Clair family

ST. CLAIR — A family of four was displaced Thursday after a pellet stove fire filled their home with smoke.

Blizzard conditions hindered firefighters' response to a 10:12 p.m. call to the Dave Vaughan residence as roads leading to the farm about 2 1/2 miles north of St. Clair were packed with snow.

"It took us 17 minutes to go 2 1/2 miles," St. Clair Fire Chief Bill Fitzloff said.

Some unexpected help came to the aid of the volunteer crew. "We were lucky, a county plow was in town and it led the way for us."

Fitzloff said electricity had gone out in the house and the family had been using a gas generator, which ran out of fuel. When the pellet stove in the dining room overheated, the house filled with smoke.

Firefighters were there about two hours and their equipment continued to work despite the inclement conditions. "We lucked out. We were able to knock down the fire by using two extinguishers," Fitzloff said.

American Red Cross volunteers are assisting the family with emergency needs.

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