CANTON, Minn. (WCCO) — Two members of an Amish family were killed Monday in an early morning house fire in southern Minnesota.
Some other people were taken to the hospital with injuries.
It happened just north of Canton, near the intersection of County Road 21 and 130th Street. That’s about 20 minutes south of Lanesboro in Filmore County. The sheriff says flames engulfed the farmhouse when deputies and volunteer firefighters arrived after 1 a.m.
The extreme cold required them to work in shifts to put out the fire.
This is a large farmhouse that’s next to a saw mill operation that the family owns and operates. The sheriff says they are an Amish family and neighbors tell us the father is one of the leaders in the Amish community here in the Canton and Harmony area.
When firefighters arrived, they found two members of the family standing outside, a man and a woman.
“They were taken to Gunderson Hospital in LaCrosse (Wis.) and are being treated for their injuries, which are found to be non-life threatening,” Sheriff Tom Kaase said.
But two other family members were missing. At about 2 p.m., the sheriff announced a man’s body was found buried in the debris. Shortly afterwards, firefighters found the second man’s body.
“With the Amish community of course they are very close-knit. Multitudes of their friends and family members have come to console them and help them,” Kaase said.
About 150 Amish families live in this part of the state. They are private and reject the ways of modern society. That means their homes have no electricity and are heated by wood-burning stoves.
It’s not clear if that was a factor.
“We’re not sure at this time. The fire marshal is on scene, he was called, which is standard protocol for him to come help investigate,” Kaase said.
Throughout the day, many people in the community came to see what they could do.
“You know obviously for the family and friends in the community around here — A very, very tragic day,” Kaase said.
Investigators say it’s still too early to know what caused fire, but there doesn’t appear to be anything suspicious about it. The wood-burning stoves are of interest to them.
The medical examiner is handling the identification of the two men who died. Their names have not been officially released.