The firemen fought the fire through open windows to keep it contained. The fire broke out about 6 p.m. last Wednesday evening and the fire department fought the fire until 10 p.m. The department returned to the scene the following day after a flare up.
The firemen fought the fire through open windows to keep it contained. The fire broke out about 6 p.m. last Wednesday evening and the fire department fought the fire until 10 p.m. The department returned to the scene the following day after a flare up.
The Chatfield Fire Department and Chatfield Police Department responded to a house fire in a vacant house at 16 Winona St. SE last Wednesday evening.

A passerby noticed flames in the lower level of the house - which belongs to Chatfield resident Alice Applequist - at approximately 6:10 p.m. and attempted to notify a neighbor to call the fire department. The neighbor didn't answer the door, but another passerby, a motorist, called the fire department on her cell phone.

The fire department arrived soon thereafter, but was unable to send a team into the house because, according to Chatfield Fire Chief Keith Bradt, "The floors and roof weren't stable...we were fighting the fire defensively."

The fire department spent the next four hours trying to contain the fire and assess what should be done with the house.

"We cleared the site at approximately 10:22 or 10:23," Bradt related. "We actually had to tear the house down because it was unsafe for anybody, and we had to return the next day to put it (the fire) out more because it flared up again."

The state fire marshal also inspected the house, trying to determine the cause of the fire, as the electricity and gas service to the house had been shut off at the meter.

The house was a loss, but Bradt was pleased to report that nobody had been inside at the time the fire started.

"It's a loss of property - she's lost quite a bit of stuff in that house - but no one was hurt, and that's a big plus," he added.

Bradt thanked the police department, the ambulance crew, the city and the Chatfield Fire Department Women's Auxiliary for their cooperation in the effort.

"The police helped control traffic, Tony from the city brought the front loader to push the house in, and the city crew turned on the wells so we could run the hoses," Bradt concluded. "The ambulance crew showed up to do firefighter rehab, the Chatfield Auxiliary brought water, Gatorade and sandwiches. It takes everybody when something like this happens and everything went well."