ORONO, Minn. (WCCO) — A million dollar home on Lake Minnetonka burned to the ground Thursday morning. The fire started around 9:30 a.m. at a home on Old Beach Road in Orono, Minn.
The house covers more than 4,000 square feet. Firefighters say the damage is so extensive that the home is a total loss.
Neighbors say the home belongs to Shawn and Jackie McIntee. They have two young kids and on Monday, they left town for spring break.
Their friends say they are in Europe, a trip they’d been planning for the last year.
Thursday morning their neighbors and friends had to get in touch with them in London, to tell them their home burned down.
Firefighters from more than a dozen departments showed up to knock down the flames. But the damage had already been done.
“All the ceilings are down, everything inside has been charred or water-damaged or smoke-damaged. The left side of the house is collapsed down on itself. It was fed by gas,” said James Van Eyll, Long Lake fire chief.
He said it appears the fire started in a room on the left side of the front of the house.
Stephanie Olson is a neighbor and friend of the family.
“Glad no one was home, no one was in there. She would have normally been home, after bringing the kids to school,” she said. “We were just in there celebrating our birthdays this weekend.”
Shawn McIntee is an attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He and his wife Jackie bought the house about two years ago and spent months remodeling it.
Neighbors say it was their dream home.
“Oh yeah, they’ve always wanted to live on the lake,” Olson said. “They are big boater fans and that was definitely one of their dreams.”
Seth Schneider lives across the street. He shot video of the flames just as firefighters arrived.
“It was a great house,” he said. “And it’s obviously devastating. They probably lost it, but we’re happy no one was in there. It could have been a lot worse.”
The McIntees’ friends have already looked into finding a temporary home for the family.
“Quite honestly, they are very strong and matter of fact. They will just keep moving forward and deal,” she said.
Friends of the family, as well as Orono Police, spent hours trying to contact the family Thursday morning to tell them what happened to their home.
They finally heard back from them Thursday afternoon. They were planning to head to Paris on Friday, but now they will be coming back to Minnesota.
Their friends say they are simply devastated and in disbelief.