By Jennifer Kotila
HOWARD LAKE, MN The Rohrbach family escaped without injury when a fire ripped through the upper portion of their residence at 801 Sixth Avenue in Howard Lake Tuesday night, but the structure was severely damaged, according to Fire Chief Tom Diers.
Howard Lake Fire Department and Ambulance were called to the residence at about 9 p.m., shortly after storms bringing heavy rains, strong winds, and lightning moved through the area, according to Diers.
The family was able to get out of the home safely with two dogs, and the fire department rescued two cats when it arrived, according to Diers.
A crew of firefighters also salvaged some of the family’s personal belongings as other firefighters fought the fire that started on the roof. It is believed the home was struck by lightning.
The roof of the home, as well as the second-story ceilings, were heavily damaged as firefighters fought the fire, Diers said.
There is also substantial water damage throughout the home from fighting the fire.
Cokato Volunteer Fire Department assisted Howard Lake, bringing in an engine with additional ladders for firefighters to reach the roof of the home.
Howard Lake Police Department and the Wright County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the fire. Crews were on scene until approximately 1:30 a.m., according to Diers.
The American Red Cross, which helps provide disaster relief for immediate recovery needs such as shelter, clothing, food, and emotional support, is helping the family at this time.
People can help those affected by this and similar disasters by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief.
Financial gifts enable the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support, and other assistance in response to disasters.
To contribute to the Red Cross, visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or send a contribution via mail to American Red Cross, Central Minnesota Chapter 1301 W Saint Germain Street, St. Cloud, MN 56301.