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Fire destroys Crosslake home

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Crews from seven different fire departments respond to a house fire Saturday in Crosslake. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video)2 / 3
Crews from seven different fire departments respond to a house fire Saturday in Crosslake. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video)3 / 3

Smoke detectors alerted a Crosslake resident to the fire that would eventually destroy her home on a bitterly cold Saturday.


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Crosslake Fire Chief Chip Lohmiller reported about 50 firefighters from seven area fire departments battled the blaze on the 15000 block of Wilderness Trail as temperatures hovered at zero degrees with the wind chill dipping to 13 degrees below zero.

The Crosslake Fire Department was alerted to the fire by a 911 call at 11:06 a.m. Saturday from Gina Nevin, who was in the home when the fire began. Nevin's father, Dave Nevin, was not home at the time of the fire.

"She tried to put the fire out with the fire extinguisher, but it was a little bit too big for her to handle," Lohmiller said.

The first fire engine was on scene eight minutes later, Lohmiller said, but by then, the attached 30-by-30-foot garage was fully engulfed. The fire appeared to originate near or inside the chimney attached to a wood-burning stove, Lohmiller said, although the exact cause had not yet been determined.

"The fire had already reached into the attic and the void spaces on the second floor," Lohmiller said.

The Crosslake Fire Department called for mutual aid from Ideal, Mission, Fifty Lakes, Emily, Pine River and Pequot Lakes fire departments.

The Pequot Lakes firefighters were serving as a rapid intervention team in case any firefighters were in danger or were injured in the course of fighting the fire. The other departments assisted with water tender trucks, which hauled water from the Crosslake Fire Hall and from a bay of Cross Lake behind Al's Marine on County Highway 66. Lohmiller estimated the trucks hauled between 28,000 and 30,000 gallons of water to the residence, which is enough water to fill a 20-by-40-foot swimming pool with an average depth of five feet. Each water tender truck holds 1,800 gallons.

The Ideal Fire Department also supplied a ladder truck, which Lohmiller said they used to spray the home from the top since it was unsafe to go inside.

"About 70 percent of the building had fire damage to it," Lohmiller said. "The roof also collapsed above the garage and above the living quarters."

The Salvation Army was on scene to assist the firefighters with keeping warm in the freezing cold and also provided some food. Crosslake restaurants Maucieri's Italian Bistro and Moonlite Bay Family Restaurant and Bar also delivered pizzas to the site.

Lohmiller said Nevin had friends to stay with, so did not need assistance with shelter.

The fire was controlled by 2:30 p.m., Lohmiller said, although crews were on scene ensuring hot spots were under control throughout the afternoon. The scene was cleared by 6 p.m.

Lohmiller said he appreciated the cooperation of all of the area departments involved.

"We had a good turnout with the neighboring departments and everybody worked really well together," he said. "I'm glad nobody got hurt."

CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or Follow on Twitter at

Chelsey Perkins

Chelsey Perkins grew up in Crosslake and is a graduate of Pequot Lakes High School. She earned her bachelor's degree in professional journalism at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Perkins interned at the Lake Country Echo and the Rochester and Austin Post-Bulletins, and also worked for the student-run Minnesota Daily newspaper as a copy editor and columnist during college. She went on to intern at Utne Reader magazine, where she was later hired as the research editor. Before becoming the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch, Perkins worked as the county government beat reporter at the Dispatch and a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal.

(218) 855-5874