Weather Forecast


Firefighters respond to fire on Gull Lake Drive

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NISSWA — If you’re a client of John Taylor of Taylor Accounting in Nisswa — don’t worry. Your tax documents were saved Monday by firefighters.

Fire destroyed Taylor’s home, where his office also is located, on Gull Lake near Hole-in-the-Day Bay. Taylor and his five miniature dachshunds were able to escape with no injuries.

Nisswa Fire Department was paged at 8:08 a.m. to Taylor’s home on the 21000 block of Gull Lake Drive.

Nisswa Fire Chief Richard Geike said the home was engulfed in flames and smoke when firefighters arrived. Firefighters from Brainerd, Pequot Lakes, Ideal, Deerwood and Crosslake provided mutual aid. There were about 50 firefighters on scene.

“This couldn’t have happened at a worst time,” said Taylor, referring to the fact that it’s tax season. Taylor said he had sent out some clients’ tax information in the mail before the fire, but there still were tax documents inside his home.

Geike reported Monday that firefighters were able to salvage the tax documents.

“I’m still in shock,” Taylor said as he watched all the firefighters fight the fire. “My wife, Cathy, is in Florida and when I called her to let her know about the fire she didn’t believe me. I had to send her a photo with my phone and then she believed me.”

One of Taylor’s clients, Chad O’Brien, was on his way to take his son to Nisswa Elementary School when he saw black smoke off Highway 371. O’Brien drove to Taylor’s home and saw the fire on the front porch. He said he ran around the house to see if anyone was inside and he found Taylor carrying his five dogs. He then learned that everyone was safe outside.

Geike said the fire was mainly contained on the second floor of the home, where all the bedrooms are located. Geike said there was a hole in the floor at the top of the stairs.

Firefighters attacked the fire from the inside and out.

Geike said the fire started through a cooking incident. Geike said Taylor was cooking and threw a hot rag outside in the front and that appeared to have started the fire.

“It was a total loss,” said Geike. “The house is still standing, but it’s a total loss. The main floor by the kitchen was heavily damaged and there was a lot of water and smoke damage on the second floor.”

Geike said cooperation between the area fire departments was “fantastic.”

“A huge thanks goes out to all these guys,” said Geike. “Without mutual aid, we wouldn’t have gotten this done.”

Assisting firefighters at the scene were the Nisswa Police Department and North Memorial Ambulance.

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