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Two fires keep area crews busy

Firefighters perform overhaul on the attic of 371 Thrift Stop in Jenkins. Photo by Travis Grimler

Mid-morning Friday, Jan. 16, a young man was chopping firewood outside of his parents’ home on County Road 107 south of Pequot Lakes when he heard his dogs barking.

When he checked the dogs he found the house was full of smoke. He let the dogs out, walked to the back side of the house and let the two cats out and then proceeded to the neighbor's to call for help, Pequot Lakes Fire Chief Tom Nelson said.

Nelson and his fire crew were called at 10:40 a.m. and when they arrived, they found the fire originated mostly in the basement, though they were limited in what they could do to fight the fire inside the home.

“The stairs were compromised, that's why we had to back off from the interior attack and go to defensive. The stairs going down to the basement were actually burned completely through,” Nelson said.

Pequot Lakes firefighters requested help from the Ideal Township and Nisswa fire departments and the crews knocked the fire down by 11:30 a.m. When the Pequot Lakes Fire Department was called to a fire at the 371 Thrift Stop in Jenkins at 11:48 a.m., the County Road 107 scene was safe enough for the crews to move on after requesting help from the Brainerd Fire Department for overhaul.

“We felt pretty comfortable knowing the first one was at least knocked down, so the Pequot crew took off to Jenkins. We brought some of the Ideal and Nisswa people with us, and then we called Pine River in for mutual aid on that one,” Nelson said.

Nelson said fire crews found that the Jenkins fire was contained in an apartment located in one corner of the building. This fire was quickly knocked down and did not extend into the merchandise section of the store.

“In that one the room and contents were damaged, but the structure itself is still in good shape. The thrift shop, other than smoke damage, was completely intact,” Nelson said.

Crews did explore the attic to see if the fire had spread into the roof through a vent, though nothing was found.

The cause of the fire in Pequot Lakes is being investigated by fire marshals. Nelson said he is still looking into the source of the fire in Jenkins. Nobody was injured.

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