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Couple escape house fire north of Willmar

WILLMAR — A home was destroyed and a dog killed in a blaze Wednesday night on the 2000 block of 66th Avenue Northeast, north of Willmar.

By the time the Spicer Fire Department arrived on the scene, around 8:40 p.m., the home was fully engulfed in flames, according to Fire Chief Mike Holme.

He said homeowner Barry Schanbachler powered the home with a generator in the front entryway. The power cut out Wednesday night, which is when Schanbachler and Cheryl DeCathelineau noticed the blaze.

"They got out of the house, but they were unable to get their dog out of the house," Holme said.

The fire spread quickly, likely hastened by ventilation in the entryway and windows smashed as Schanbachler attempted to rescue his dog.

A neighbor saw the fire and called 911. Fire crews from Willmar, New London and Kandiyohi assisted the Spicer Fire Department on the scene. They battled the fire for several hours, finally clearing the scene at around 12:40 a.m., Holme said.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but the home was a total loss. The Salvation Army has temporarily relocated Schanbachler and DeCathelineau to a Willmar hotel.

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