Cause of Bath Twp. fire undetermined

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The cause of the fire that extensively damaged a home in Bath Township during the last week in May is officially undetermined, Albert Lea Fire Capt. Lee DeVries said Tuesday.

DeVries, who investigated the fire at 78346 310th St. with the Freeborn County Fire Investigation Team, said there were three possibilities that could not be ruled out as the cause.

The first is a wired light fixture with a compact fluorescent light bulb that could have overheated. The second possibility was that some dirty rags that had been used to do wood-finishing work could have spontaneously combusted.

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Thirdly, there is the possibility that someone set the fire because the house had been left unlocked, he said.

No one was home when the fire started.

DeVries said the fire started in the entry room on the main level of the house, owned by Brant D. Hemingway.

The home is southwest of Geneva.

Authorities were alerted to the home fire just before 5 p.m. May 28, after dispatchers received several 911 calls about the blaze.

The Geneva Fire Department responded and noticed fire was visible inside and outside of the home on the west and south sides. Mutual aid was then requested from the Ellendale and Clarks Grove fire departments.

Also assisting at the scene of the fire were the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office, the Albert Lea Salvation Army, the Freeborn County chapter of the American Red Cross and Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services.

DeVries said the house is a total loss, as the fire traveled all the way up into the attic space. There was heavy structural damage.

He noted he did not know the estimated monetary loss connected to the fire.

The state Fire Marshal Division of the Department of Public Safety also assisted the Freeborn County Fire Investigation Team with the investigation.