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Fire engulfs rural Brewster home

The burned property of Jim and Kay Voss sits covered in fire retardant foam following Monday morning’s blaze in rural Brewster. (Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe)1 / 4
A doublewide mobile home burns Monday morning in rural Brewster. The Brewster Fire Department and Worthington Fire Department responded to the fire. (Kay Voss/Submitted Photo)2 / 4
A doublewide mobile home burns Monday morning in rural Brewster. The Brewster Fire Department and Worthington Fire Department responded to the fire. (Kay Voss/Submitted Photo)3 / 4
A doublewide mobile home burns Monday morning in rural Brewster. The Brewster Fire Department and Worthington Fire Department responded to the fire. (Kay Voss/Submitted Photo)4 / 4

BREWSTER — Kay Voss was on the phone Monday morning when she started to see smoke come across her kitchen window.

“It was about 10 (a.m.), I suppose,” Voss said. “I was on the phone talking and I said, ‘I think I have to go — there’s something wrong.’”

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In fact, the mobile trailer she and her husband, Jim, own, which sits adjacent to their property at 37378 200th St., rural Brewster, was engulfed in flames.

“Smoke was going across my kitchen window and I thought, ‘There’s something amiss,’” Voss said. “Our renter came home about the same time I saw it. He said his carpet was on fire.”

A few minutes later, the Brewster Fire Department was on the scene. However, by that point, the residence was a total loss.

“It went fast,” Voss said.

“It was fully engulfed,” Brewster Fire Chief John Garmer said. “There was nothing to save. Because of the smoke we had to shut the road down, with all the trucks going because of harvest season.”

The Brewster Fire Department called for mutual aid from Worthington, and six loads of water were dumped on the house in all. Garmer said it was equal to approximately 14,000 gallons. The call came in around 10:30 a.m., and the fire was fought until about 1:30 p.m.

By the time the firefighters were ready to leave, what was remaining of the house was covered in foam.

“It encapsulates it,” Garmer said. “It keeps oxygen off it so it can’t rekindle. As dry as it is around here, it’s a good practice we get into. We can throw some foam on it and walk away pretty confident. There’s no smoke or steam anymore.”

In all, approximately 20 firefighters responded to the call.

“We just hired eight new people and for most of them, this is their first fire,” Garmer said. “They’ve been on for about a month. They did real good.”

While the Vosses lived in a house on the other side of a grove, there was a renter living in the double-wide trailer.

“I think he had a space heater going and I don’t know, maybe the puppies knocked it over or something,” Jim Voss said.

It is believed the dogs didn’t make it out of the trailer before it was engulfed.

The renter wasn’t home at the time of the fire. He tried to extinguish it upon returning, but the fire spread too fast to contain.

“It was possibly electrical,” Garmer said. “We can’t go in there because of the floor. We’d fall through to the basement. Talking to the renter and the homeowner and how things were started and how things were set up, we believe it was some sort of an electrical issue.”

Jim Voss estimated the structure was 24 feet by 56 feet. The farm place has been in his family since the late 1940s, with the mobile home being placed there in the mid-1970s.

Monday also happened to be a special day for Jim.

“It’s my birthday today, too,” he said.

“We haven’t lived there for 15 years or so and maybe longer than that,” Kay said. “What are you going to do? No sense standing there stomping your foot — it’s gone. I’m just thankful we don’t live there anymore. Nobody got hurt except for two dogs.”

A garage next to the house was saved, and the grove around received very minimal damage.

“The wind was blowing straight across,” Garmer said. “That was a real good thing — it was a northwest wind instead of a south. It didn’t push it into the grove or the garage.”

The local American Red Cross was contacted and able to assist with the renter’s immediate needs.

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