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Merrifield home lost to fire

MERRIFIELD — Nisswa firefighters not only had to battle a house fire Wednesday, where flames and smoke were flowing out of the attic, but they also had to battle the frigid temperatures with a 4 below wind chill.

The Nisswa Fire Department was called 4:07 p.m. to a small rambler home on 21892 Crow Wing County Road 3 in Merrifield. Nisswa called for mutual aid from Mission Township and Brainerd fire departments, and Mission also brought their Rapid Intervention Team.

Nisswa Fire Chief Richard Geike said the call came in as a chimney fire but upon arrival there were flames and smoke coming out of the attic of the home. Geike said the fire made its way down to the main floor of the house but mostly burned in the attic.

While on scene, Geike said the cause of the fire was not known.

“There’s plenty of damage in the attic and a lot of smoke,” said Geike. “There is smoke damage throughout the house. The home is a total loss.”

Geike said the home is owned by Roger Heidelberger, who rents it to Kelly Townley. Geike said Townley and three family members, which included a young granddaughter were in the home at the time of the fire.

“They saw the fire and got out,” said Geike. “The Red Cross is helping out the family.”

Geike said 30 firefighters responded to the call, which includes about eight firefighters each from the Brainerd and Mission Township fire departments. Six tankers and three engines also were at the scene.

The Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office and North Memorial Ambulance were at the scene on standby.

Firefighters cleared the scene about 6:30 p.m.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851. Follow me on Twitter at