Fire, fueled by strong winds, spread through multiple homes Wednesday afternoon at a new construction development in Otsego, Minn. The fire was reported before 4 p.m. on the 5500 block of Ramier Avenue. VIEW PHOTOS
Around 3:45 p.m. as students were being dropped off from school, a group of them spotted a home burning in the back of the River Pointe development. A firefighter confirmed 4 houses caught fire, but witnesses said the fire spread to a fifth home. Hennepin County emergency dispatchers said no injuries were reported.
Of the 4 homes that firefighters confirmed had burned, families already moved in to 2 of them for around 3 to 4 months, and 2 of the homes are still under construction. No one was home when the fire broke out, except for two dogs trapped in their crates. The family is mourning the loss of those dogs more than the house itself.
Seven departments battled the blaze all afternoon. The flames then jumped to a farmland behind the house, spreading roughly a mile as the Department of Natural Resources dropped chemical retardant to stop it from spreading. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined and the State Fire Marshal is investigating.
"I've been in the fire service for 31 years, and this is the most challenging I've seen," Rogers Fire Chief Brad Feist said.
Strong winds were an added challenge for firefighters, as was the case in St. Paul where fire spread to two homes on Front Street.