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One dead following town of Superior house fire

An 82-year-old woman is dead following a house fire in the Town of Superior.

Sheriff's deputies and volunteer firefighters from the town of Superior responded to the home on East During Road shortly before 5:30 p.m. July 14 for a reported kitchen grease fire.

Responding firefighters found the 82-year-old woman, who called in the kitchen fire, unresponsive in the home, according to Douglas County Sheriff's Office reports. Gold Cross paramedics and firefighters began lifesaving efforts and the victim was transported to St. Mary's Hospital in Duluth.

Family members later told Sgt. Jake Engelman with the sheriff's office that the woman died in the hospital the following day due to smoke/fire injuries.

Deputy Dan Howe with the sheriff's office was the first on the scene July 14. He noticed smoke coming out of the eaves of the home and seams of all the windows. No one was outside the building, although a purse was sitting on the deck outside the main door. The smoke and fire were too intense for Howe to open the door.

Members of the Town of Superior Volunteer Fire Department arrived at the home moments later, according to Howe's report.

Firefighters entered the home and located the female victim in the bathroom off of the bedroom.

According to Howe's report, communications staff told the woman to get out of the residence when she called, but she said she was going to get her animals.

Crews did find two pets, a dog and a cat, in the home. The dog was given aid and transported to a local animal hospital. Temporary placement was found for the cat.

Firefighters had the fire under control in about 45 minutes and crews remained on scene for two additional hours.

The cause of the fire appears to be from unattended cooking, according to Town of Superior Fire Chief Darryl Fiegle. Heat and smoke damage to the home was significant, but the extent of the damage was unknown as of press time.

In addition to the town of Superior, firefighters from the towns of Summit, Oakland and Parkland responded to the blaze. Fiegle also thanked the sheriff's office, East Central Energy and the Humane Society of Douglas County for their response.

"We would like to let folks know when a fire happens not to put yourselves in harm's way by taking time to gather possessions. Evacuate your home and do not go back in," Fiegle said.

With modern furnishings and decorative finishes being made of petroleum-based products, he said, a room fire can double in size in couple of minutes.

"These fires produce toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide" Fiegle said. "These chemicals if inhaled can be deadly to anyone in one or two breaths."

Planning can make a world of difference, the chief said.

"Have working smoke alarms, create and practice a home fire escape plan to be ready if a fire occurs."

Free smoke alarms

As part of its Home Fire Campaign, the American Red Cross will be installing free smoke alarms in homes that don't have them. Douglas County residents are eligible for the program, aimed at reducing death and injury from home fires by 25 percent in 2020.

According to the American Red Cross, an average of seven people die every day from a home fires, most of them children and the elderly. In addition, 36 people suffer injuries as a result of home fires every day.

Call (612) 460-3674 or visit https://getasmokealarm.org/ to set up an installation appointment.

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