Man identified in fatal fire

Published 5:18 pm Thursday, December 8, 2016

56-year-old man remembered as a welcoming, fun person

EMMONS — A family member has identified the man found dead in a house fire Wednesday night north of Bear Lake in rural Emmons.

The man, identified as 56-year-old Rudy Rognes, was reportedly discovered after law enforcement and multiple local fire departments were dispatched to 68480 140th St. shortly before 5:30 p.m. on a report of a structure fire with a possible victim in the home.

Firefighters returned to a house north of Emmons on Thursday after reports that the house was rekindling following a fire at the house Wednesday night. - Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Firefighters returned to a house north of Emmons on Thursday after reports that the house was rekindling following a fire at the house Wednesday night. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Rognes’ body was taken into custody by the medical examiner to be transported for an autopsy.

Rognes’ sister-in-law, Terry Cunningham, recalled Christmas dinners and other events at the house.

“So many memories here,” she said.

Cunningham remembered Rognes as someone who made other people feel welcome.

“When they would invite people to the Christmas parties it was never just our family. It was whoever needed a place to have Christmas dinner,” she said.

Firefighters work to put out any possible rekindling Thursday at a house in rural Emmons that caught fire Wednesday night. - Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Firefighters work to put out any possible rekindling Thursday at a house in rural Emmons that caught fire Wednesday night. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

She remembered Rognes as having a fun personality.

“He was a very fun guy — very enjoyable to be around,” she said.

Cunningham received a call from her great-niece alerting her to the fire, and she was over at the house by 8 p.m.

“I just came right over,” she said.

Upon arriving, she gave the fire marshal and sheriff an overview of the house’s layout.

Rognes’ wife, Linda, died in May.

“It’s really hard,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of deaths again. It’s really overwhelming.”

Freeborn County Sheriff Kurt Freitag said he hopes autopsy results are released next week.

More information is expected to be released when it becomes available.

Look to the Tribune for more information as it is released.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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