By Ryan Gueningsman
MONTROSE, MN Fire heavily damaged a Montrose home early Wednesday evening.
Fire officials were called to the residence of Steven Eppel on Seventh Street in Montrose just after 5 p.m. when Eppel heard the smoke detectors going off, opened the basement door, and saw smoke and flames, according to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.
Eppel was able to remove his four dogs from the residence, but a cat is believed to have perished in the fire.
Montrose Fire Chief Mike Marketon said it looks like the fire began in the basement, and said his department, along with mutual aid from the Waverly Fire Department, was able to keep it pretty much contained to the basement and main level of the two-story residence.
The joint fire investigation team, made up of representatives from Wright County fire departments, was called in to assist in determining the cause.
“It’s not suspicious at this point,” Marketon noted. He said the residence is borderline to being a total loss, and said Eppel was home alone at the time of the fire and had been there about an hour.
Marketon said the residence’s lightweight construction proved to be dangerous for the firefighters, as a floor collapsed into the basement level.
“They’re strong, but as soon as there’s fire, they fail quickly,” Marketon said. No one was injured as a result of the fire or the floor collapse.
Marketon added that the weather, though cold, was not a factor in fighting the fire. He said this is the first house fire Montrose has had within its city limits in about two years.
“The guys did an excellent job,” Marketon said. “It’s fantastic how it was put under control rather quickly.”
He said his department has a mutual aid pact with the Waverly department where anytime there is a structure fire in one municipality, the other is automatically paged for mutual aid.
Along with the Montrose and Waverly fire departments, the Wright County Sheriff’s Office and Ridgeview Ambulance also assisted.
The fire department cleared the scene around 7:30 p.m., Marketon said, and added the investigation team remained on-site until around 11 p.m.