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Crews respond to fire at downtown Willmar business

Firefighters with the Willmar Fire Department respond Wednesday to a fire at the apartment located above the Quick Return Tax agency on Third Street Southwest in downtown Willmar. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Fire Department responded to a call at 3:52 p.m. Wednesday after a fire was reported at Sunvold Accounting/Quick Return Tax in downtown Willmar.

According to Willmar Fire Chief Marv Calvin, business owner Darrell Sunvold was melting snow and ice with a propane torch around the upstairs platform of his property located at 222 Third Street S.W. in Willmar. Sunvold said he failed to notice the foam insulation had caught fire, as the flame wasn't within a foot of the building.

Sunvold's grandson, Caleb Owens, 9, alerted Sunvold to the fire when he said he smelled smoke upon returning home from school. Both Sunvold and Owens checked the exterior of the building but were unable to locate the fire.

Owens then spotted smoke coming from the second-story apartment above the business.

According to Calvin, the fire surrounded the door frame and extended into the attic of the apartment. Nearly 25 firefighters were on the scene and the fire was extinguished within an hour. Calvin says the building suffered about $20,000 to $30,000 in damage. No injuries were reported.

Quick Return Tax will remain open for business.