BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN Bill Eppel was reading a book around 3:40 p.m. Thursday when he heard someone pounding on the door of his home at 428 Third St. N. in Delano.
That someone was neighbor Morhia Moore, who told Eppel his garage was on fire.
“I opened the door to the garage and, ‘Whoosh!’” Eppel said of the fire flaring up in his garage, “So, I went out the living room door.”
Eppel was able to get out of the home without injury.
While Morhia Moore was alerting Eppel about the fire, her mother, Toni Moore, was calling 911.
Delano Fire Department responded to the fire, and called for mutual aid from the Montrose and Watertown fire departments, with Ridgeview ambulance, the Wright County Sheriff’s Office and West Hennepin Public Safety Department also assisting.
Dozens of area residents lined the streets. Once they saw Eppel was OK, many asked if his historic photos of Delano had survived.
Firefighters retrieved the cabinet containing nine binders of photos, in addition to his postcard collection and other items. The Delano photos in particular appeared to be well-preserved.
The same could not be said for Eppel’s home, which appeared to be a total loss. Eppel indicated the home, which was built in 1963, was insured.
Delano Fire Chief Bob Van Lith confirmed the fire began in the garage area. The department is investigating the cause of the fire, with the help of county and/or state authorities, if needed.