LAKE ELMO, Minn. (WCCO) — As Ron Lynch walked around the back of his property Tuesday, he stared at a pile of rubble.
“This was the back of the house,” Lynch said as he gazed into the blackened debris.
Lynch, a 3M retiree, was out of town to visit his elderly mother when his wife called late Monday night with some shocking news. The couple’s rural home of 26 years was no more.
“She did the right thing, grabbed her purse, car keys, called the dogs and got out the driveway,” Lynch said.
Lynch said his wife was home alone and looking out the upstairs bedroom window when she noticed a flickering light. The orange glow was the back deck covered in flames. Fire investigators said they believe a lightning strike is to blame.
Lake Elmo Fire Chief Greg Malmquist says the 911 call came in at 10:30 p.m. Monday. Chief Malmquist was one of the first on the scene.
“I went around the house and the whole rear structure was fully involved. We went on the defensive mode real quick because the whole structure was involved,” Malmquist said.
Firefighters from 10 surrounding departments were called in for mutual aid. Fire crews had to shuttle in tankers full of water since the area is not served by fire hydrants.
By midday Tuesday, the fire was out, giving wrecking crews time to chew away at the burned structure and knock it to the ground.
“It’s gone but it can be rebuilt – that’s the good thing,” Lynch said.
As the couple spent a solitary afternoon reflecting back on what was, they’ll draw strength on what they still have and what’s to be. Though shocked and saddened, it’s all that matters – and far more important than anything left in the blackened rubble.
“The things that are important are still here, we still got us,” Lynch said.