March 12, 2007

Fire strikes Winsted again

Third family is left with few possessions as fire consumes home

By Lynda Jensen

A house fire left a Winsted family devastated Tuesday – the third such fire to strike Winsted in six months.

Ron and Carol Ann Artmann, who live three miles west of town, were home when the blaze started in the garage, Carol Ann said.

Carol Ann was getting out of her recliner when she saw flames shooting out of their garage window.

“I said ‘Ron, we got a fire!’” she said. By the time they got out of the front entry, the roof was engulfed.

Both of their vehicles were inside, plus a golf cart that was recently adapted with better lights for Ron, who is disabled.

Lost was a 2007 Mercury Mariner SUV, and a 2005 Ford Super Duty pickup truck. A hitch-wagon parade unit was lost as well, she said.

The three-car garage was attached, and the fire spread to the house, which was nearly destroyed.

The Winsted Fire Department responded with six trucks and 19 men, reported Fire Chief Chad Engel.

Mutual aid was given by both Lester Prairie, with four trucks and 14 firefighters, and Silver Lake, with a water truck and two firefighters, Engel said.

The tanker was filled seven times, he added, since water had to be hauled out of town to the country location.

Firefighters managed to contain the fire so that it didn’t consume the south bedroom, which allowed the family to rescue clothes, and possibly a valuable file cabinet that contained important documents, Carol Ann said. She was so grateful for this.

The next day, the fire rekindled, which prompted the Winsted Fire Department to respond again.

Terry and Kari Berg were kind enough to take the clothes home, she said.

The Artmanns, who raise ponies and goats, have been staying at Craig and Shari Remer’s residence, who are neighbors to the west.

The Remers are on vacation in Florida, and in fact, Carol Ann got a call from Craig in Florida about the fire almost immediately.

Apparently, the Remers’ son, Justin, received a text message from another friend about the fire, which prompted Craig to call.

“We’re too old to deal with this,” Carol Ann commented. She is 64 and her husband is 67.

Carol Ann hasn’t fallen apart yet, she said. “I did cry a few tears.”

Loss of the golf cart was also hard because Ron was going to use it to get around, she said. He didn’t get a chance to take it out with its new lights yet, since they were put on Christmas.

Their dog, Jake, made it out alive but is left without his dog house, which was in the garage, or his favorite place under the deck. “What’s left in his world?” Carol Ann asked.

Anyone who wishes to contact the Artmanns may do so by calling Carol Ann’s cell number, (320) 224-5193.

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