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Fire ravages Backus firefighter's home

Fire ravaged the home of a firefighter Friday afternoon in Backus.

A fire on Friday heavily damaged the home of a Backus firefighter, Backus Fire Chief Karl Flier said.

The fire was reported about 1:40 p.m. on the 500 block of 43rd Avenue Northwest in Backus, Flier said, and when firefighters arrived the roof and second floor were already gone. Firefighters were able to save an attached garage, Flier said.

"It was pretty torched," Flier said of the house. Both Pine River and Hackensack fire departments assisted with the fire.

The homeowner, Jason Smith, also is a Backus firefighter and works in the First Responder program, Flier said. No one was home at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported. Flier said Smith's children were in school and his wife was at work. Smith was in Brainerd and was first informed of the fire when it came across his pager, Flier said.

"I definitely feel for these guys," Flier said. "I know it's hard on him."

Flier said the cause of the fire is being investigated by the State Fire Marshal's office.

Flier said Backus firefighters this past weekend also responded to a electrical fire - a light in the ceiling of a trailer house - and assisted the Pine River Fire Department with a fire that started in the attic in a garage.

"The cold definitely didn't help," Flier said about how the weather hampered firefighting efforts.

MATT ERICKSON may be reached at or 855-5857.