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2 people displaced when fire destroys home in Pequot Lakes

Neighbors in Pequot Lakes helped firefighters stay warm while battling a house fire Sunday morning in temperatures at 24 degrees below zero.

About 30 firefighters from Pequot Lakes, Nisswa, Pine River and Ideal Township worked in rotations fighting the fire and taking breaks in an attempt to stay warm, Pequot Fire Chief Tom Nelson said. A neighbor stepped up and offered a heated garage to the firefighters to warm up. The neighbors also offered firefighters hot beverages and snacks.

Nelson said two renters—Jeffrey King and Renee Hines—were able to escape the burning home with no injuries and called 911. The fire was reported at 8:30 a.m. in a manufactured home on the 31000 block of Honeysuckle Street in Pequot Lakes.

When firefighters arrived, the home was fully engulfed in flames, with fire coming out of the windows but not the roof. Since the home was in the city, firefighters were able to use the city hydrant for water, which helped in the fight to extinguish the fire.

Firefighters were able to save a nearby camper and vehicle. However, the home was a complete loss despite the efforts of the firefighters, Nelson said.

Nelson said it appears the fire started from a portable heater used to thaw out a frozen water pipe.

Nelson said having many firefighters on scene helped with rotating them in and out in the arctic weather.

In a Facebook post Sunday, Pequot Lakes Police Officer Kate Petersen said: "Today I witnessed some Pequot Lakes residents perform such selfless acts for a family in need this morning. A couple sadly lost their home in a fire and lost everything. I watched people come out of their homes asking me how they could help. They brought jackets, boots, hats, etc. to these people who weren't dressed for the weather because they had to save themselves from the fire. "A family even opened up their garage for firefighters to go to warm up, have a snack and drink hot chocolate and coffee. Thank you Pequot Lakes for coming to the aid for this family, firefighters and police officers. These actions made me so proud to be a part of this community."

Pequot Lakes Police Chief Eric Klang said there was huge outpouring from the community to donate items to the family impacted by the fire.

"It was really cold out and Pequot Lakes residents came together to help these folks," Klang said. "It was really cool. They wanted to help them more than just provide them a shelter. ... It was pretty powerful."

The American Red Cross was called to assist the family.

Eric Adams with the American Red Cross in Duluth said volunteers met with the two adults Sunday to assist them with their immediate needs after the fire. The American Red Cross provided assistance to help them with a hotel and with direct assistance to meet their needs with clothing and food.

For more information on the American Red Cross, go to www.redcross.org or call 800-RED-CROSS (733-2767).

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at jennifer.stockinger@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5851. Follow me at www.twitter.com/jennewsgirl on Twitter.