Fire destroys Nisswa assistant fire chief’s home
Joe Hall, his wife and four children escape unharmed; home is a total loss
NISSWA — A house fire is always devastating, but even more so for firefighters when it’s one of their own.
Sixteen Nisswa firefighters responded to Assistant Fire Chief Joe Hall’s home on the 4600 block of Lower Lake Road at 2:09 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, when the family’s wood stove sparked a fire in the chimney, Fire Chief Shawn Bailey said Friday, Feb. 24.
Hall, his wife, Sonja, and four children safely evacuated the home, which is a total loss with water and smoke damage, Bailey said.
Smoke detectors did not go off as smoke never entered the living area, Bailey said.
“The roof was burning off,” he said. “Upon my arrival, there was significant smoke and flames from the roof area."
Hall woke up to a crackling sound, looked out the window and saw the fire’s reflection in the snow, Bailey said. He had stoked his wood stove before going to bed.
“It looked like daylight outside,” Bailey said.
In addition to Nisswa firefighters, 10 Pequot Lakes firefighters, 13 Mission Township firefighters along with the Nisswa and Breezy Point police departments and North Ambulance responded and were on scene for five hours.
Winds were 40 mph with heavy snowfall that night. The area was in a winter storm warning.
“The conditions were not favorable,” Bailey said.
The firefighting community and beyond have stepped up to help the Halls.
While fighting the fire, firefighters started unloading family photo albums to save them. They and others from the community returned at 8 a.m. Thursday to salvage whatever else they could.
A meal train was set up through Timberwood Church in Nisswa and is nearly full for the Hall family.
“It’s amazing how it all unfolded and how the community is willing to help our own,” Bailey said.
Anyone who wants to help the family can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nancy Vogt, editor, may be reached at 218-855-5877 or email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.