Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Home consumed in flames


Photo provided

The home of Rick Lingle and Danielle Johnson burned on June 26. The fire may have started because a rodent chewed the coating off a wire inside of the wall.

Danielle Johnson was at work at Art's Café when she got a call on Tuesday, June 26, just before 11 a.m.

"It was a call that I never want to get again," she said in an interview at their camper on Sunday evening.

The caller told her that their home was in flames.

Johnson and her fiancé, Rick Lingle, had just bought the home in February, and plan to marry at the home in August this year.

"I loved that house when I first saw it," said Danielle. "It was nice inside and outside. It had cedar siding."

Rick said that he had known of the place for years and had always liked it. They were glad to be able to purchase the property when it became available again.

"It had been built in the 1940s," Lingle explained. "It was added to in 1977, and then remodeled and rewired in 2004."

Lingle was at work in Rogers, Minnesota, where he was part of a crew installing underground cable.

"I got the call from Danielle at 11:02 a.m.," he said. "I rushed home as fast as I could. The two-hour trip took me an hour and 45 minutes. I was in a hurry."

Captain Steve Trenhaile of the Moose Lake Area Fire Department said that the call came in at 10:36 a.m. A neighbor had called to report the fire.

"When we arrived, we found a fully engulfed structure fire on Leino Road in Silver Township (located west of Moose Lake)," wrote Trenhaile in a text. "I requested mutual aid from Kettle River and Barnum Fire Departments. Upon arrival we found that the house was engulfed and that part of the roof had caved in. There was no chance of entering the home.

"A neighbor had called in the fire and let us know that there was no one home. We started fire suppression. It took four hours to fully extinguish the fire. The homeowners arrived on the scene and told us that they had two dogs in the house. We recovered one deceased dog but could not locate the other one.

"Red Cross was contacted by us and arrived on the scene to help the family. The structure was a total loss except for a bedroom. The homeowners were able to recover a few personal items."

One dog, Caesar, a German Shepard Silver Sable, is still missing. Johnson has posted the photo of him on Facebook in case anyone in the area has seen him.

The couple had no children living with them, although each has children. Johnson said she has four and Lingle has four.

The house was insured.

It was found that a squirrel or a chipmunk was the probable cause of the fire.

"Neither the fire marshal nor the insurance adjuster could say for sure what caused the fire but they found acorns in the wall and that the coating on a wire had been chewed through," said Lingle. "The wire had arced. The insurance company has released the house so Dale Sandberg is coming to remove the remains on Saturday."

Meanwhile the couple is mourning the loss of their home and pets.

"The dog that is missing was in the house at the time of the fire," said Lingle. "We hope he made it out. The remains of the house are not safe for us to go and look."

Lingle said Johnson had recovered a few of her photo albums, and he had recovered a memento that had once belonged to his grandfather. But other mementos were in the front of the house and were lost in the fire. Johnson is mourning the loss of a painting that had been a family heirloom.

The couple is now living in a 20-foot camper at their place that they had purchased last year.

Lingle said that he has talked to several contractors and has chosen one of them to build a new home for them.

Dan Lingle

"He is going to delay other jobs so he can get started on a new house as soon as possible," he said.

The couple wishes to thank the Moose Lake Area Fire Department, the Kettle River Fire Department and the Barnum Fire Department for responding and extinguishing the flames, and they wish to thank the friends and neighbors that have come to help.

But they still don't know who called and reported the fire. They would like to know so they can personally thank them, said Lingle.

For those who want to donate items or funds, they may drop them off at Art's Café in Moose Lake, or at T & R Treasures on Folz Boulevard, next to Five Sisters, with Lingle's mother, Rosalinda.


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