A Lake Nebagamon man who was transported to the hospital via Lifelink helicopter after a house fire Sunday, Dec. 15, remained in fair condition at Essentia Health Wednesday, Dec. 18.
The fire at the home on Bolognesi Road in Lake Nebagamon was reported at about 5:30 p.m. Initial reports indicated two people were in the structure. A half-dozen volunteer fire departments responded.
“There were people inside the house when we arrived on the scene while there was visible flame coming out of the house,” Lake Nebagamon Fire Chief Jake Fuller said. “We were able to get the folks out of the house shortly after the fire burned through the roof and got them over to Mayo for medical treatment before we began transitioning to fire suppression.”
In addition to the man who was airlifted, a female was driven to the hospital by a relative, according to a report by Sgt. Cory Knutson with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
The fire started on the second floor and was mainly contained to that floor, Fuller said, although there was smoke and water damage to the first floor. The cause of the blaze remains undetermined.
The homeowners have family in the area. The Village Inn offered to provide rooms if they were needed, Fuller said.
Firefighters from Maple, Brule, Poplar, Highland and Bennett also responded to the blaze. Three Lake Nebagamon businesses, Patti’s Dockside, Midland Market Place and Bridge's Bar, stepped in to provide food and water for the firefighters.
Knutson noted in his report that he was unable to get to the scene because of fire truck traffic and snowbanks had reduced the road to a single lane.
Fuller said that the snowbanks didn’t hamper their initial response, but once the drop tank was set up, it was touch-and-go for trucks dumping water to make their turns into the driveway until some of the banks could be knocked back.
He said it’s important to keep roads and driveways cleared out wide enough for emergency equipment to go down. It can be a big issue, especially after a major storm.
It was a long night for the firefighters. It was nearly 2:30 a.m. by the time they cleared the fire scene and got the trucks back online. The department was paged to respond to a medical emergency two hours later.
Douglas County fire departments are in need of more volunteers.
“We have a lot of folks retiring in the coming years from departments throughout the region and we have no one else to fill their boots, “Fuller said. “It’s one heck of a commitment to make to serve your community, but the reward of doing something good for them greatly outweighs it.”