ATWATER -- Fire destroyed a four-season residence and garage on the north shore of Diamond Lake after an electric heater apparently malfunctioned in the garage on Friday afternoon.
The fire spread quickly to the nearby house: Flames were shooting from a corner of the roof of the house and the garage was engulfed in flames when Atwater Volunteer Fire Fighters reached the scene, according to Fire Chief Gerald Schwartz.
The fire chief said fire fighters focused their efforts on confining the fire to the house and garage and preventing its spread to other structures in close proximity of it. The fire destroyed the two structures and their contents, including all of the home furnishings, personal water craft and other valuables.
The fire was reported at the Breezy Point Road residence on the lake's north side at 2:49 p.m. Fire Chief Schwartz said people were planning to stay at the residence and ice fish over the weekend. They started an electric heater in the garage to warm it up shortly after arriving. They walked to a neighbor's house to visit.
They returned to find the garage on fire and summoned fire fighters.
Atwater fire fighters were assisted at the scene by volunteers with the Spicer and Kandiyohi Fire Departments. The two assisting units brought tankers and pump trucks.
The garage is detached from the house, but the structures are very close to each other and the fire spread quickly to the house, according to the chief.
Fire fighters were called back to the fire scene twice - once on Friday night and again Saturday morning- as the blaze rekindled. Embers in floor joists had re-ignited, leading fire fighters to use saws to remove a large portion of the flooring.
One fire fighter suffered minor heat exhaustion while battling the blaze, said the chief. Ice created by the water used in fighting the fire made conditions difficult, but relatively mild temperatures in the 20's aided the fire fighting efforts.
The property has an estimated market value of $278,600, according to county records.