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Three suffer smoke inhalation in house fire

WILLMAR -- Paramedics treated two adults and one child for smoke inhalation following a house fire Wednesday night in Willmar. The three were transported to Rice Memorial Hospital by Willmar Ambulance and were released, said Fire Chief Marv Calvin.

The Willmar Fire Department was called at 10:37 p.m. to a fire at 308 Eighth St. S.W. Firefighters found a fire in the basement of the home and contained the fire to the basement, according to Calvin.

Nine people were in the two-story home at the time of the fire and all escaped the house through a main floor exit before emergency crews arrived, according to Calvin. The family was alerted to the fire by smelling smoke. The family stayed with friends for the evening.

Calvin said he has met with the city building official, who determined the house cannot be occupied. Calvin said the house sustained extensive electrical damage in addition to structural damage. Calvin said he will be working with the insurance company to determine whether or not the house will be rebuilt.

An investigation determined the fire was started by two unsupervised children playing with matches in the basement. The home had no working smoke detectors.

Calvin reminds families to practice their home exit drills and to keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.