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House fire leaves five homeless in Luverne

All that remains of the home at 718 S. Donaldson St., in Luverne is a portion of a wooden deck and charred rubble. Three fire departments responded to the blaze at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday. (Julie Buntjer/Daily Globe)1 / 2
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LUVERNE — A Luverne home was destroyed by fire in the early morning hours Sunday, leaving a family of five homeless.

Firefighters were paged to 718 S. Donaldson St. at approximately 2 a.m., according to Rock County Sheriff Evan Verbrugge. Mutual aid was requested from both the Hills and Beaver Creek fire departments.

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Luverne Fire Chief Dan Nath said smoke and flames were coming from the front of the house when firefighters arrived.

“We attempted to do an interior search — we weren’t aware if there were persons inside,” Nath said.

Once it was learned the family wasn’t at home, Nath said firefighters were pulled from the burning home due to safety concerns and structural issues.

Nath said the neighboring departments were called in to provide additional manpower. The ongoing heat wave was a concern, with the temperature still at 80 degrees at 2 a.m.

“We just wanted to make sure all of the firefighters were safe,” Nath said.

Windy conditions made battling the blaze a challenge, and Verbrugge said firefighters were called back to the scene at least three times to respond to flare-ups. Neighboring homes in the residential area sustained no damage, added Nath.

“We used a foam application to assist and keep the fire under control,” Nath said.

The cause of the fire is yet unknown. Nath said insurance adjusters had been on site, and the state fire marshal had been contacted.

Two adults and three children were displaced by the fire, said Verbrugge. Nath said the family is staying with friends at this time.

Jennifer Hyk, executive director of the Southwest Chapter of the American Red Cross, said the agency assisted the family with emergency needs for food, shelter and clothing.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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