Coon Rapids family escapes destructive house fire

Contributing Writer

A Coon Rapids house fire the early hours of Sept. 8 did extensive damage and left it uninhabitable.

Fire did extensive damage to a residence at 255 124th Lane NW, Coon Rapids, the early hours of Sept. 8.Photo courtesy of the Coon Rapids Fire Department
Fire did extensive damage to a residence at 255 124th Lane NW, Coon Rapids, the early hours of Sept. 8. Photo courtesy of the Coon Rapids Fire Department

But a working smoke detector enabled the four residents – two adults and two children ages 12 and 6 – to escape unhurt, according to Coon Rapids Fire Chief John Piper.

“This was a dramatic smoke detector save,” Piper said. “Smoke detectors save lives.”

“I can’t stress enough the importance of having working smoke detectors in homes and changing the batteries twice a year.”

In fact, Piper is hoping this example will be used in a statewide campaign focusing on the life-saving importance of working smoke detectors, he said.

Firefighters received a fire alarm call from an upstairs smoke detector at the home of Kelly Marthe, 255 124th Lane NW, just before 2:45 a.m. and en route were advised that all the occupants were out of the house safely, according to the fire department run report by Battalion Chief Justin Hite.

On arrival, firefighters found heavy flames coming from the front of the two-story house as well as in the attic and through part of the roof, Hite said.

A general alarm was struck and mutual aid was called for assistance from the Fridley and Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View fire departments.

According to Fire Marshal Todd Williams, the fire started in the front, main entry of the house, went up the siding into the attic and through the roof.

The cause was a cigarette in a potted plant that was inside the main entry, Williams said.

“The house suffered extensive damage including the roof,” he said.

The fire department run report estimated property damage at $200,000 and contents loss of $50,000.

According to Piper, a large dumpster in the driveway of a house under construction next door also caught fire, probably from embers caused by the blaze.

That fire was put out, but there was some damage to the metal soffits on the house, which was close to being finished, Williams said.