A malfunctioning fan caused a fire at a Coon Rapids townhouse Aug. 20.
But while the fire put itself out because of lack of oxygen before it was discovered, smoke and heat damage left the townhouse uninhabitable, according to Coon Rapids Fire Marshal Todd Williams.
A mother and daughter who lived at the townhouse at 12329 Drake St. NW were both at work when the fire started.
The daughter returned home shortly after 6:30 p.m. and when she opened the front door, she found the inside full of smoke.
According to Williams, the daughter went to the back of the townhouse and entered again through the patio door to rescue two cats that were inside and to make sure her mother was not inside.
The daughter, 27, was treated at the scene by Allina paramedics for smoke inhalation, but was not taken to the hospital.
Arriving police officers and firefighters found the fire smoldering in an upstairs living room by a couch.
Firefighters used an extinguisher to put out some hot spots, then vented the townhouse to remove smoke and heat.
But the smoke and heat damage was extensive enough that all Sheetrock would have to be removed and replaced and other repairs would have to be made before the townhouse could be lived in again, Williams said.
The fan, which the homeowner said had been on for several days, was located on an end table next to a couch and when the fan malfunctioned, the couch caught on fire, he said.
The daughter went to stay with friends in the neighborhood, while the mother went to live with her mother in Fridley, Williams said.
The fire department run report estimates the property and contents damage at $75,000.
Peter Bodley is at firstname.lastname@example.org