MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis firefighters are trying to figure out what caused a fire that killed a 46-year-old man.

Looking at the outside of the home, it was hard to even see any damage. But a man died inside the home on Logan Avenue North in Minneapolis.  It was the second fatal fire of 2015 in Minnesota. A woman died Thursday after a fire in Vadnais Heights.

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Scott Krider was watching and lives across the street from the latest victim.  He described the scene Saturday evening.

“Seen paramedics go in the house so we knew somebody was still in the house but they came out empty-handed so we knew somebody was left inside,” Krider said.

He said that somebody was his buddy, Mike Klingelhoets, a man who lived a life of danger working for the past 17 years on a boat.

“He’d usually spend three or four months home enjoying himself and then following year he’d go back up to Alaska and fish again,” Krider said.

A single man, Kilingelhoets’ father said he was going to change professions in the spring, working for the merchant marines.

“He was getting tired of it and thinking of retiring. He said it was hard work,” Krider said.

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But before he could retire, his life came to an end. Firefighters and family don’t know how the fire started Saturday around 8:45 p.m., but they say furniture may somehow have been partly to blame.  They quickly put the fire out.

Now a man known for his quiet nature and bold adventures who survived the sea was taken by a fire.

“He’ll be missed,” Krider said.

According the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, Klingelhoets died of smoke inhalation from the fire. The state fire marshal said it’s the second fire of the year. In 2014, there were more than 40. The fire marshal’s office said this is peak season for fires.

The American Red Cross of course responding to many of those fires. They sent the following tips:


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  • Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.
  • Someone should seek medical attention immediately if they have symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
  • Watch for symptoms of frostbite, including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
  • Don’t forget family pets: Bring them indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
  • Avoid frozen pipes: Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
  • Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid freezing pipes.
  • Download the Red Cross First Aid App for quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. This free app is available on the Apple iTunes or Google Play stores.

HOME FIRE RISK INCREASES DURING COLD Local Red Cross workers responded to more than 700 home fires in Minnesota during 2014, eight in just the past few days. During extremely cold weather, the risk for a fire in someone’s home can increase. To avoid fire danger, remember the following:

  • Never use a stove or oven to heat the home.
  • Remember “3 feet from heat”. If using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
  • Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment someone wants to power directly to the outlets on the generator.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield