By Roz Kohls
DARWIN, MN An investigation of the fatal fire in a pickup truck south of Darwin Nov. 23, concluded the fire started in the engine compartment, near the rear of the engine.
Officials confirmed Tuesday that the fire took the life of Al Stone of Darwin.
Once started, the fire then traveled through openings in the firewall into the passenger compartment, according to the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigation.
The fire was discovered by a passerby in the driveway of the home of Al and Dianne Stone, along Meeker County State Aid Highway 14, south of Darwin, in Ellsworth Township. Sheriff’s deputies and the Dassel Fire Department responded.
Firefighters extinguished the fire, and the remains were found in the cab of the pickup. However, the fire was so intense, the remains were unidentifiable.
Meeker County Sheriff Mike Hirman said the body and DNA evidence were taken to Anoka County for an autopsy.
Friends and family were sure it was Al Stone, 68, but it was several days before his identity was confirmed by medical and dental records, Hirman said.
Stone’s funeral was Monday, Dec. 1, at Gethsemane Lutheran Church of Dassel.
The sheriff’s office closed the investigation Tuesday.