Family in Ellendale, now homeless - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Family in Ellendale, now homeless

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ELLENDALE, Minn. (KTTC) -- The season of joy has now turned tragic for a family who is left homeless. Two fires broke out in their house, both within 2 hours of each other.

The American Red Cross has stepped in to help the displaced family of six. This evening they are staying with family and friends, but without the help of community members it won't be a very merry Christmas.

Authorities responded to 403 5th Avenue West, in Ellendale last night, for a report of a fire. The owners returned to the home to see their kitchen on fire shortly before 2 Wednesday morning. The fire was extinguished and the home was deemed safe. Then 2 hours later, a passer-by saw the same house on fire and called police. No one was home at the time of the second fire and the house is a total loss.

Firefighters were still on scene Wednesday evening. We're told winter makes their job a lot more complicated.

"Everything freezes up. You have to make sure that your trucks don't freeze up. Your gear freezes up, your gloves are solid ice and it's just everything, the ice turns into weight and weight turns into fatigue. It just gets to be a very long process," said Mark Lee, with the Ellendale Fire Department.

With a home now deemed unlivable, the family is without any personal belongings. But it isn't taking long for community members to give from the heart making sure the families 4 children, a preschooler, 1st , 5th and 6th grader, have a merry Christmas.

"The elementary school, we are putting together a clothing drive and toy drive together, starting tomorrow, through December 14th," said Karen Lundberg, an Ellendale resident.

Donations can also be dropped off at Maggio's Pizza in downtown Ellendale, as well as numerous other places. This small community has truly rallied together.

Thursday the fire marshall will be on scene again as the cause of fire is still under investigation.

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