Special Dec. 23 , 2006

Home of Howard Lake senior burns

By Lynda Jensen

Amidst freezing temperatures, firefighters battled a house fire three days before Christmas that gutted the home of Ed Brabec just north of Howard Lake Friday.

The call went out about 5:30 p.m., with the Howard Lake Fire Department quickly responding. Waverly and Maple Lake departments offered mutual aid.

Brabec, 62, was working at Munson’s Friday afternoon when he was alerted that his house was on fire, he said.

The fire originated in the garage area and flames spread through the roof to his house, Brabec said.

His garage didn’t have any walls left standing, and his 1995 Ford van kept inside was a gray shell, with few remains.

The house was a total loss, although the main floor of the structure was relatively intact, and he thought that some items were possibly salvageable, he said.

The next day, Father Timothy Cloutier of St. Mary’s Church, where Brabec is a longtime member, noted that a small handful of items had been retrieved.

One of the items rescued was a nativity scene that belonged to Brabec’s late wife, Dorothy; who died in May 2004.

“His daughter told me ‘Forget the tree – we wanted to save the nativity sets of Dorothy’s,’” Cloutier said.

Dorothy worked for nearly 20 years at the Citizens State Bank of Waverly.

Brabec has worked at Munson’s for several years, as well. He spent part of his life farming, but is probably best known for working at Munson’s.

Christmas presents were being kept near the deck area of the house and weren’t burned, but sustained heavy water damage.

“We were supposed to have Christmas dinner here tomorrow (Saturday),” commented Brabec’s son-in-law, Bernie Lueck of Winsted.

The house was built in 1994, Brabec said.

For the time being, he will be staying with his daughter Karin Lueck and her husband, Bernie, Brabec said. He has three children, Karen, Scott Brabec of Maple Lake and Danny Brabec of Rockford.

Want to help?

Those who wish to help Howard Lake senior Ed Brabec, who sustained a house fire that destroyed his home and belongings Friday, may send donations to an account has been set up at the Citizens State Bank of Waverly, PO Box 68, Waverly, MN 55390.

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