Fire officials rule southeast Brainerd house fire accidental

The Brainerd fire chief also shared sad news about the homeowner's pets.

FireUpdate 1
A Brainerd firefighter stood on the handicapped ramp as he took a moment fighting a fire Sunday night, March 8, of a home on Norwood Street in southeast Brainerd. Jennifer Kraus // Brainerd Dispatch

A fire that destroyed a southeast Brainerd home Sunday night, March 8, was ruled accidental.

Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes Monday said an investigation, with assistance from the Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s Office, confirmed electrical issues started the fire.

The house fire was reported at 6:28 p.m. on the 1100 block of Norwood Street in Brainerd. Nearly 50 firefighters responded. In addition to the Brainerd Fire Department, the Nisswa and Deerwood fire departments were called for mutual aid. Firefighters were on scene until just past midnight, extinguishing all the hot spots and opening up areas to check for more flames. Firefighters made their way back to the Brainerd Fire Hall and stayed until about 1:30 a.m. Monday cleaning up their gear, Holmes said.

When firefighters were paged to the fire, the home was already engulfed in flames. The fire started on the front porch. Holmes said there were insulation materials exposed that caught fire and the fire spread quickly. The home is a complete loss.

Holmes didn’t have pleasant news on the family’s furry pets. The homeowner Linda Raden said the family had three cats and her dog Roxie. Holmes said the investigation confirmed the deaths of the dog and two cats. It was not known if the third cat escaped or was lost in the house somewhere.


There were three adults in the house at the time of the fire — Raden, her brother and her future daughter-in-law. Four volunteers with the American Red Cross responded to the scene Sunday night to provide assistance, according to Carrie Carlson-Guest, regional communications officer for the American Red Cross. Carlson-Guest said volunteers provided the adults with a supply comfort kit including items for emergency needs, such as a toothbrush, soap and deodorant. The adults also received a debit card to assist with housing and clothing needs.

“We help people to get them to their next step,” Carlson-Guest said. “Everyone has different needs and we can provide support for those emergency needs.

More about the Red Cross

The main local disasters the American Red Cross responds to are home and apartment fires. In 2019, the Red Cross chapter responded to 125 home fires and other disasters impacting 164 families, serving more than 400 people and offering emotional and financial support in one of the hardest days they will experience, the organization stated. The organization describes the role of home fire assistance as “keeping a disaster from turning into a catastrophe” by providing the help needed to mitigate the impact it has.

Red Cross volunteers also responded to other disasters in the area as well, including supporting a very significant disaster mental health response to a shooting on the Fond du Lac Reservation in September.

As of the end of 2019, 699 lives have been saved nationally because people were able to escape a home fire safely due to smoke alarms installed through the Home Fire Campaign since late fall of 2014, the organization states. In Crow Wing County, there were 81 smoke alarms installed at no cost between 2014-19, and three alarms installed for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Holmes said daylight saving time began Sunday, which is always a good reminder to people to make sure they change their clocks and batteries in their smoke alarms.

FireUpdate 2
Brainerd and Nisswa firefighters continued to work on the house fire Sunday night, March 8, in southeast Brainerd. Jennifer Kraus // Brainerd Dispatch

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