LONG PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO) — A family of four was able to escape after a fire broke out at the home they were renting in the city of Long Prairie.
Police say the fire broke out around 6:38 a.m. Saturday at 221 2nd St. N. Crews arrived on scene to find smoke filing the home and all four family members standing outside.
The Long Prairie Fire Department was able to put the fire out, however, one firefighter fell at the scene and was transported to Memorial Hospital. He was later released.
Andrew and Jessica Lorentz, and their two children ages 1 and 3, were renting the home from Frank Nuttal, who lives in the Twin Cities.
Jessica Lorentz told police she smelled smoke in the middle of the night. Her husband went downstairs and saw a fire in the kitchen of the home.
Andrew Lorentz had just seconds to get his wife and two young boys outside.
“Get the hell out. There was nothing going through my head, but getting out of there,” said Lorentz.
Long Prairie resident Linda Hatton watched from across the street as firefighters battled the fire.
“It was like a sparkler. That’s the best way to describe it. A sparkler, a great big sparkler, and then the flames burst,” said Hatton.
The family had two cats in the home at the time of the fire — one cat was rescued by a Long Prairie firefighter, however, the other was later found dead in the home.
If a Christmas Day fire wasn’t bad enough, Andrew Lorentz will be starting his 24th year looking for a new home because Saturday also happened to be his birthday.
“We’ll make it through. Everyone goes through tough times we’ll make it through,” said Lorentz.
And there’s something to be said for living in a small town.
“When something happens to one, it happens to all.” Hatton said. “I’m sure there’ll be a benefit.”
Police say most of the items in the home were damaged by the fire. The cause of the fire at this point is unknown.
The family said they will stay with friends and other family members until they can find alternate housing.
WCCO-TV’s Rachel Slavik Reports