Five fire departments battle the blaze
By Ryan Gueningsman
An early morning fire destroyed a Hollywood Township home Feb. 12, according to the Carver County Sheriff’s Office.
A neighbor who lives near the home that burned on Carver County Road 122 smelled smoke shortly after 5 a.m., and saw flames coming out of a bay window, said Carver County Chief Deputy Bob Van Den Broeke.
The neighbor went to all three residences that share a common driveway and woke them up to alert them of the fire. The homeowners, Joel “Butch” and Sherry Essig, were not home at the time of the fire, as they were out of town on a two-week cruise, Van Den Broeke said.
“Their children have been notified,” he said.
Four additional fire departments, including Waconia, Mayer, New Germany, and Delano, assisted the Watertown Fire Department with the fire call. Members of the Delano Fire Department stood by at the Watertown Fire Department in the event another call came for their services.
“We started Mayer right away, and once we got there, called for more,” said Watertown Fire Chief Hubie Widmer.
“It was pretty much fully engulfed when they (firefighters) got there,” Van Den Broeke said, adding that the main floor fell into the basement, but said to his knowledge, no firefighters received injuries fighting the fire. When there is a working fire, an ambulance is typically called to stand-by in the event of any injuries or heat exhaustion from fighting the fire.
“It was so advanced by the time they got there, it was difficult to fight,” he said. Widmer said the brick structure kept the heat inside, which made the fire difficult to fight.
Investigators have been working to determine the cause of the fire, which Van Den Broeke said is not considered suspicious, and was confined to the residence.
“There is no indication that there was anything suspicious,” Van Den Broeke said. “But, we don’t know what the cause is yet. There will need to be some more investigating to determine what the cause was.”
Widmer said the fire department was on scene for 11 hours, and said the weather wasn’t too bad for fighting the fire, but said running water would form ice where the fire departments were walking.
“We had the county spread some sand around the scene where people were walking a lot,” Widmer said.