Family Escapes St. Paul House Fire

By Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Boarded up doors and windows place what had been a home hours earlier now off limits. A quick-moving fire gutted the single story St. Paul home shortly after 11 p.m. on Wednesday night.

A mother and six kids escaped the fire. One of the children, a 7-year-old girl, told her mother that sparks from an electric space heater started her bed on fire.

Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said it happened just after 11 p.m. Wednesday at a home at 1067 Wilson Ave. He said there’s a lesson to be learned about space heaters and furniture.

“We haven’t yet determined that to be the cause of what started the fire, but the fire started in her bedroom,” Zaccard said. “This family is lucky to have gotten out because the fire consumed virtually the whole house.”

The mom called 911 when she discovered the fire in a child’s bedroom. She gathered up the kids and they were able to escape just as the father was coming home from work.

He tried to fight the fire with a portable extinguisher, but the flames were too big.

By the time crews arrived, the house was fully engulfed and flames were threatening to burn a neighbor’s home.

Firefighters were able to put out the house in a few minutes.

The only injury was a small burn on the finger of a 7-year-old girl.

The girl told firefighters that she was plugging in an electric heater when sparks jumped out and started her bed on fire.

Damage is estimated to be at $120,000. Neighbors say the family lost everything.

Zaccard said the incident points out an important lesson.

“Be careful when you push your bed or other furniture up against a wall that you’re not impacting on an electrical outlet,” he said.

The Red Cross is helping the family.

Starr Olson’s children played with the family’s kids.

“I feel pretty bad because they have five kids. It’s pretty scary for the kids but they’re OK,” she said. “They got to safety and the Red Cross got them put up right now.”

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Steve Murphy Reports

The Dayton’s Bluff Community Council has set up a relief fund for the family.

Donations can be sent to:
Dayton’s Bluff Community Council
c/o Soukchaleum Family Fund
789 East 7th St.
St. Paul, MN 55106

  • JamieinMN

    Oh my gawwwd how scary! Poor girl. Glad everyone is ok.

  • pat

    I am so glad that everyone is safe, it could have been so much worse. I have a friend who is afire marshall in TX and he said that most fires start from space heater, candles, and grease forgotten on the stove. If you want a space heater invest in a NEW one, much safer than grandmas old one or one you picked up a garage sale.

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  • Joy

    Thank the Lord this little girl was awake when it happened. That mother is a hero for getting all those kids out so fast.

  • Sean

    today they said family of seven here it says 6 kids but the father came home SO either it’s a family of 8 OR there were only 5 kids, either way it was reported wrong. I think that WCCO should not be in such a hurry to put out inaccuacte reporting. Stop ……….take your time and do it right…just for once anyway.

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