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Smoke-filled rooms

Rep.-elect Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, is just starting his legislative career but the rookie politician has already had his fill of smoke-filled rooms. The newly elected lawmaker, his wife, Keri; and his five children; were all displaced from the...

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Joshua Heintzeman

Rep.-elect Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, is just starting his legislative career but the rookie politician has already had his fill of smoke-filled rooms. The newly elected lawmaker, his wife, Keri; and his five children; were all displaced from their home Nov. 28, when a nearby outbuilding that contained a wood boiler was destroyed by fire.

The wood boiler, located about 150 feet from the Heintzeman home, provided heat to the family's home. While the blaze didn't cause any structural damage to their living quarters it did result in serious smoke damage and made their home uninhabitable.

"All of our clothing, bedding and drapes smell terrible," he said Friday.

The family's three cats, who often hung out in the outbuilding, wisely dispersed when the fire started. All three felines returned to the family and are being cared for by extended family members.

So Heintzeman, 37; his wife, Keri; and their five children, ages 13, 11, 9, 4 and 1 are spending this busy holiday/job transition period in a Brainerd area motel. The family has made arrangements to rent a place in the Twin Cities when the Legislature is in session. Keri Heintzeman will continue to home-school the children, so in that sense, the lawmaker said, "we're mobile."

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Heintzeman wants to get the word out to his new constituents that if he's been slow to respond to phone calls or email inquiries it's because the fire has made his family's already busy lifestyle quite a bit busier.

The smoke damaged all of the family's clothing, bedding and drapes, he said. Insurance will cover most of the damages. It's possible the walls may have to be resurfaced with a fresh coat of paint, he said.

"We have great insurance," he said. "It just takes time."

Josh Heintzeman went right to work the day after the fire to install a new boiler to heat the house before cold temperatures caused havoc. He and his father, his father-in-law and a neighbor, Randy Hardy, who's a plumber, worked all day Nov. 29 and had the new boiler system up and running by 8:30 p.m. that day.

MIKE O'ROURKE may be reached at 855-5860 or mike.orourke@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MikeORourkenews .

An out building containing a wood boiler near Rep.-elect Josh Heintzeman's Nisswa home is destroyed by fire Nov. 28 The fire created enough smoke damage in his home that the family of seven had to temporarily move into a motel. Submitted photo
An out building containing a wood boiler near Rep.-elect Josh Heintzeman's Nisswa home is destroyed by fire Nov. 28 The fire created enough smoke damage in his home that the family of seven had to temporarily move into a motel. Submitted photo

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