MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fire investigators are hard at work in Andover where 35-year old Chad Riley Garner was killed, and two teenagers hurt in an early morning house fire.
The fire was reported Tuesday at 3:35 a.m. at a home on the 14300 block of Woodbine Street. Fire crews from Andover, Anoka-Champlin and Ramsey fire were dispatched.
Upon arrival, responders learned the fire started in an attached garage and then spread toward the main portion of the home.
The sheriff’s office says a family of four was inside at the time. Three were able to escape, a 39-year-old woman and two teenage boys, ages 13 and 16.
Theresa Shumway woke up to the home across the street from her on fire.
“I was watching the fire at 3 o’clock this morning and it was really horrendous,” she said. “There was like a big boom and I wasn’t really sure what that was, and then I came out and saw the fire.”
Tim Bachtle just moved in next door but says his family grew close to their neighbors right away.
“Just a nice guy. He came over, his kids were playing with mine, he introduced himself and we hung out,” he said. “Life can change in a matter of minutes, one minute you’re a whole family, the next minute, you’re not and that’s what’s sad.”
Neighbors also described the victim as a go-to handyman.
“He was a real fixer. He was an appliance guy so if I had something wrong with my refrigerator, he’d fix it,” Shumway said. “Great personality, always smiling. The neighborhood will miss him a lot.”
The teens were taken to Mercy Hospital with non-life threatening injuries due to smoke inhalation. They’ve since been released from the hospital.
The Andover Fire Department says hot spots in the home re-ignited around 3:40 a.m. Wednesday. It took them two hours to put out the second fire. More of the home was destroyed, but no neighboring homes were affected.
The cause of the fire is yet to be determined. The investigation is ongoing.