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Small structure lost in fire, leaving man homeless

A 30- by 30-foot structure, with no running water or bathrooms, tucked back into the woods near a home on Crow Wing County Road 25, northeast of Brainerd, was destroyed by fire during the early morning hours Friday.

Brainerd firefighters were initially called at 2:21 a.m. to a fire in the woods, which quickly turned into a structure fire on the 16000 block of County Road 25.

Brainerd Fire Chief Kevin Stunek said the small structure was “pretty much destroyed” upon firefighters’ arrival. A 55-year-old man was living in the structure located behind property that is owned by his mother.

“It was difficult to access the structure as there was no driveway and it was back in the woods,” said Stunek. “We had to run about 500 feet of hose to reach it.”

Stunek said the man left the structure to go outside and when he returned it was on fire. It appeared that the fire was caused from a wood stove. The homeowner was previously having issues with the stove.

There were 18 firefighters on scene with two tankers and two engines. About 3,000 gallons of water was used. Crosby Fire was called for mutual aid, but was canceled en route.

The fire caused about $15,000 in damages.

The man stayed with family for the overnight period and the American Red Cross was called in to assist him.

The Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office assisted on scene.

Firefighters cleared the scene at 5 a.m. Five minutes later, they were called to another call on the 2400 block of Ridge Drive to check on the carbon monoxide levels. Firefighters investigated and found nothing.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER, staff writer, may be reached at or 855-5851. Follow on Twitter at