Fire leaves Coon Rapids home uninhabitable

A fire Sunday left a Coon Rapids townhouse uninhabitable.

Coon Rapids firefighters battle a townhouse fire on 120th Lane, Coon Rapids, Sunday.

Coon Rapids firefighters battle a townhouse fire on 120th Lane, Coon Rapids, Sunday.

The fire at the home of Philip Henderson, 64, 866 120th Lane NW, was caused by fireplace ashes, according to Coon Rapids Fire Chief John Piper.

Henderson had emptied the firebox into a metal container and placed it outside the main entry door to the unit, Piper said.

“That’s the correct thing to do,” he said.

But because of the configuration of the entryway, the swirling wind caused the ashes to blow out of the container, catch leaves on the fire that started a fire in an outside wall, Piper said.

“A significant amount of overhaul was needed due to the fire getting into the wall, spreading across the ceiling and then extending to the upper level,” he said.

The call to the fire department came from the resident of the neighboring townhome unit who could smell smoke in her townhome and could hear the fireplace crackling in the neighboring unit, according to the fire department run report.

Arriving firefighters found smoke coming from the eaves of the two-story townhome and a general alarm was struck.

Crews used saws and tools to open up the exterior of the townhome affected, including the upstairs wall in a bedroom and the first-floor living room, to attack the fire, as well as the common wall between the two units.

There was minor damage to the next door unit at 872 120th Lane and the resident was allowed back inside once the fire was out and overhaul completed, Piper said.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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