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Two escape rural Litchfield house fire, electric heater suspected cause

LITCHFIELD — An electric heater used to heat a porch is the suspected cause of an early morning house fire discovered by a passerby Sunday morning southeast of Litchfield.

According to the Meeker County Sheriff’s office, a Hutchinson man was driving by the address of 23299 650th Ave. around 6:30 a.m. and noticed the fire.

The passerby, Mark Johnson, also notified authorities that the homeowners, Darrell Walberg, 74 and JoAnn Walberg, 72, of Litchfield, were out of the residence and in a vehicle in order to stay warm.

By the time officers from the Sheriff’s Office and the Litchfield Police Department arrived, the single story home was fully engulfed in flames.

The Litchfield and Dassel fire departments, the Litchfield Rescue Squad and Gold Cross Ambulance also responded to the fire.

Both Walbergs were taken to the Meeker Memorial Hospital and Darrell Walberg was later transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center Burn Unit for further treatment of his injuries.

The house and property in the house were valued at $200,000 and were a total loss. A garage near the house also sustained minor damage due to the heat from the fire.

The State Fire Marshal was contacted about the house fire.