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Story + Gallery + Video: Fire damages local house

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News Worthington,Minnesota 56187 http://www.dglobe.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/4/0711/29-fire.jpg?itok=7cu5Hbl2
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Story + Gallery + Video: Fire damages local house
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON -- Worthington Fire Chief Rick Von Holdt said Thursday evening he suspects the house at 809 Burlington is a total loss after a fire that started in the back yard got into the basement, then moved into the walls and up the roof. While the house did not burn to the ground, the damage caused by the fire likely rendered it unsound.

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No one was injured during the course of the fire, including both firefighters and homeowners. According to Worthington Police Sgt. Bill Bolt, the American Red Cross was contacted to assist the residents.

The fire department was called out shortly before 5 p.m. Von Holdt said it looks as though the fire started in the back yard outside the house, possibly from burning garbage.

"The back of the house is pretty charred," he said. "And it got into the basement a bit."

Once the flames moved into the basement and through the walls, fire got into the soffits and ran around the roof, Von Holdt said. After making sure the roof was safe, firefighters put up ladders and headed up to cut ventilation holes.

Inside the back part of the house, the ceiling had to be pulled down so firefighters could get to the flames.

"We knocked (the flames) down, then found a couple of ventilation holes on the sides and sprayed water inside," Von Holdt explained.

Once the ceiling was pulled down in the upper half story of the house, Von Holdt said at the scene, a thermal imaging camera would be used to look for hot spots.

"We contemplated getting the aerial out, but were more worried about getting the flames knocked down," he added.

The firefighters going into the house or on the roof were wearing masks and oxygen tanks, and the sound of tank timers could be heard as the firefighters battled the blaze. Firefighters who needed a tank change would kneel in the front yard in front of the house while another attached a fresh tank to their self-contained breathing apparatus. Although the department carries a large supply of extra tanks, they also have a unit which allows them to fill oxygen tanks at the scene of a fire.

The strong breeze, Von Holdt said, was not a hindrance during the fire fighting, and actually served to keep some of the smoke away from the firefighters as they did their jobs.

The official cause of the fire had not been determined as of Thursday night.

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