By Bill Hudson

ROBBINSDALE, Minn. (WCCO) — Boarded windows and broken hearts now fill a close-knit Robbinsdale neighborhood.

Walking along the sidewalk Sunday, David Hiel stopped to say, “I’ve known him all my life.”

Hiel was shocked and saddened to learn details of the house fire that killed a childhood friend.

Just before 9 p.m. Saturday evening, neighbors reported flames in Michael Schule’s front living room windows.

They immediately called 911.

The official cause has yet to be determined, but Hiel says that he knows his friend fell asleep in his chair.

Firefighters arrived within a few minutes to the bungalow on the corner of Halifax and 34th avenues.

“The neighbors reported flames inside the front porch area and that’s exactly what we saw when we arrived,” said Robbinsdale Fire Marshal Greg Bodin.

Schule, 66, was pulled from the home and transported to the hospital, but it was too late.

Jeannette Hiel has lived in the neighborhood for more than 60 years and says she and her children knew Schule since he was a child. She also knew he smoked.

Hiel fears he may have fallen asleep with a lit cigarette.

“Things happen, it’s sad…it’s very sad,” she said.

The state Fire Marshall is assisting the investigation for an official cause.


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