UPDATED: Downtown Pequot Lakes duplex fire reported

Three residents evacuated from two units; Pequot Lakes and Nisswa firefighters respond

Downtown Pequot Lakes fire 2 Feb. 27, 2023.jpg
A Pequot Lakes Fire District firefighter climbs down a ladder outside a duplex on Front Street in downtown Pequot Lakes Monday night, Feb. 27, 2023.
Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

PEQUOT LAKES — A fire was reported around 9:25 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, at a duplex on Front Street on the east side of Patriot Avenue in downtown Pequot Lakes.

"The fire district personnel arrived on scene and found an exterior fire that had worked its way up a wall and into the attic of the duplex," Pequot Lakes Fire District Fire Chief Mike Schwankl said Tuesday. "And so at that time, the firefighters evacuated three residents out of between the two units.

“And then at about 9:30 p.m. the first engine arrived on scene, and they laid lines and worked from the exterior side," Schwankl said.

Downtown Pequot Lakes fire 4 Feb. 27, 2023.jpg
Pequot Lakes and Nisswa firefighters clear items from a duplex on Front Street on the east side of Patriot Avenue in downtown Pequot Lakes after a fire Monday night, Feb. 27, 2023.
Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

Since the fire had not yet reached the living spaces and contents, fire crews worked hard to avoid excessive damage during their response. But they also worked fast to get the fire under control before damage spread, which is a more nuanced and challenging job than putting out a fire that has burned a structure mostly down already.

"We were trying to minimize the damage to the interior of the units because the fire hadn't gotten to the interior of the building," Schwankl said. "The difficulty was just simply gaining access while minimizing the damage to the building and so they ended up taking a ceiling down in one room in one unit and cutting a hole in the gable to gain access to the attic space as well."


The occupants got out of the building that's just north of Builders FirstSource and at one time was a bakery.

The extent of the damage is still being determined by the building owner and insurance company.

"Residents from both of the units were displaced for sure for the evening," Schwankl said. "I don't know how long the one unit will be displaced - for a period of time for sure. The second unit, that's kind of undetermined yet."

The Pequot Lakes Fire District responded and called the Nisswa Fire Department for mutual aid Approximately 25 firefighters were on scene. Also on scene were the Pequot Lakes Police Department, Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office and North Ambulance.

The last crews cleared the scene at 11:20 p.m..

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

Travis Grimler, staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5853 or . Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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