MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Investigators still don’t know what caused a large fire on Lake Minnetonka Wednesday that burned through the night.

Crews got the call just after 6 p.m. Wednesday to a home on Breezy Point in the city of Woodland. The home was under construction and no one was home, but firefighters faced a number of obstacles.

“When we arrived it was fire from one end to another,” Wayzata Fire Chief Kevin Klapprich said.

(credit: Lindsi Boynton)

The flames could be seen across Lake Minnetonka. At one point, they were so big the fire even showed up on the Twin Cities weather radar as temperatures dropped.

The elements made this fire especially challenging. Bitter cold, gusty winds and no access to fire hydrants were some of the obstacles firefighters faced.

All of the water needed to be hauled in. Crews battled the flames until about 3 a.m. Thursday, as the air temperature read minus-3 degrees. and the wind chill dropped to minus-25 degrees.

“Their feet get cold, their hands get cold, and then of course if they get wet, that speeds that process up,” Klapprich said.

Weather radar image of the smoke produced by the fire (credit: NWS Twin Cities)

He estimates that about 15 fire departments and 100 firefighters were on scene. The home was under construction. Its owner, Jon Davis, is the CEO of Davisco Foods International based in Le Sueur. When reached by phone, Davis only wanted to give a statement about the fire crews involved.

“I can’t say enough about the efforts of firefighters. I’m just thankful no one was hurt,” Davis said.

Chief Klapprich says as horrible as this fire was, it was a blessing that it wasn’t able to spread, and that no one was hurt.
“I feel bad for the owners, but it was confined to that place I guess and that’s a good thing that it didn’t go farther, and we didn’t hurt anybody. No firefighters, no citizens,” Klapprich said.

He says ice buildup on the ground was also a major challenge in battling the fire. Firefighters had to rotate every 20 minutes to stay warm.

John Lauritsen

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