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Fire heavily damages east Brainerd home

A fire Wednesday afternoon damaged much of a house in east Brainerd and sent two people to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Firefighters were called at 12:11 p.m. to the house at 2704 Division Street, south of Highway 25, Brainerd Fire Chief Ti...

A Brainerd firefighter throws out a smoldering mattress from a house at 2704 Division St. in east Brainerd Wednesday afternoon. Two people went to Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center to be treated for smoke inhalation. (Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls) Gallery and Video
A Brainerd firefighter throws out a smoldering mattress from a house at 2704 Division St. in east Brainerd Wednesday afternoon. Two people went to Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center to be treated for smoke inhalation. (Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls) Gallery and Video

A fire Wednesday afternoon damaged much of a house in east Brainerd and sent two people to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters were called at 12:11 p.m. to the house at 2704 Division Street, south of Highway 25,

Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes said.

There was "extensive" damage to the interior but it was difficult to say whether the house would be a total loss, he said in an interview on scene.

One resident and one visitor, both women, were present at the fire.

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Holmes described the victims' injuries as minor, and they were likely sent to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

Preliminary reports indicated a dropped cigarette started the fire, he said. There were reports a cat was still in the house, but the cat remained unaccounted for by authorities Wednesday evening. They had seen a cat outside the house as they first arrived, but it was unclear if this was the same cat, Holmes said.

About 15 firefighters and four trucks responded. Holmes said he was the first firefighter on scene, and attempted to use a fire extinguisher before the first interior crew arrived.

The scene showed a great deal of smoke and interior damage was visible through the windows. Firefighters were throwing burned mattresses and other debris through the windows in an effort to clear the scene.

The driveway to the house was covered with ice, making it tricky for firefighters to walk without slipping until a city dump truck laid down a sand/salt mixture. Firefighters then spread the salt and sand around further with shovels.

Jon Bachman, a northeast Brainerd resident who is working on being certified to become a firefighter, heard the fire call go out on his scanner and came to watch. The narrow street made it difficult for fire trucks to maneuver, and there were no nearby fire hydrants, he noticed.

"It's tight quarters," he said. "It's sheer ice back here."

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