PILLAGER-Hearing what sounded like a cat scratching noise alerted a Pillager woman asleep in her bedroom her house was on fire, Pillager Fire Capt. Sandy Youngblom said.
The Pillager Fire Department responded at 2:36 a.m, Saturday, Jan. 27, to the house fire on the 9100 block of 386th Street, just south of Pillager in Morrison County. Upon arrival, firefighters saw flames rising from the roof.
Youngblom said the homeowner didn't go to bed until 12:30 a.m. and woke up because she heard a scratching noise from her cat.
"She got up to see what the cat was doing, and when she came out of bedroom she saw the flames," Youngblom said. "She grabbed her cat and called 911. They were able to escape without any injuries."
Youngblom said nine firefighters were on scene and they were able to quickly extinguish the fire.
"We pulled one line (hose) about 200 feet out as we were limited on personnel, but we didn't need to call for mutual aid," the fire captain said. "Our firefighter Josh Eastman, who was on the nozzle, did an amazing job knocking it down right away. If the fire got any bigger we would have called for mutual aid, but we were all good."
Youngblom said the fire extended throughout the attic, which was the area taking the longest to extinguish. There were lots of hot spots and crews were on scene until 7 a.m. making sure the fire was out.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it appears the fire started from the wood-burning stove on the main floor, Youngblom said. The fire damage was mainly on the east side of the house. However, the fire caused extensive damage throughout the rafters and left a big hole in the roof.
The homeowner is unable to stay in the house, but she had offers from family and friends for a place to say, the fire captain said.
Youngblom said battling the fire in a frigid 22 degrees below zero was not fun. She said they kept the water flowing so it wouldn't freeze up and luckily they had no issues with their fire engines.
"Our fingers were freezing," she said.