PEQUOT LAKES — Smoke was visible from as far away as Gull Lake as a raging fire erupted during a frigid morning Thursday, Jan. 16, destroying an unoccupied house in Maple Township, southwest of Pequot Lakes.

The report of the fire came in at 10:47 a.m., Pine River Fire Chief Craig King said, noting the house on the 2000 block of 64th Street Southwest was engulfed in flames when crews arrived. According to property records, the owner is Gerald Paulson, who King said was out of town at the time.

Firefighters from Pine River, Pequot Lakes and Nisswa battled flames for four hours as their self-contained breathing apparatus equipment froze up in the cold. The Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport recorded an air temperature of 12 degrees below zero at the time.

The house was a total loss, but the cause of the fire has yet to be determined, King said. The state fire marshal is investigating.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office also assisted on scene.