House fire near Geneva leaves family homeless - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

House fire near Geneva leaves family homeless

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GENEVA, Minn. (KTTC) – A family near Geneva is in disbelief after a fire destroyed their home and claimed the life of a family pet.

It happened at 82526 330th Street near Geneva about 8:05 p.m. Tuesday.

A space heater too close to the couch started the fire in the addition of the home of Richard and Carol Hierlmaier. Richard said he was in the room when the fire broke out and he tried putting out the flames himself, but eventually the fire grew too big.

“It just happened so quickly,” said Hierlmaier. “I heard a rumbling sound; I thought somebody was coming in the house.”

He said he used a fire extinguisher to try and put out the fire, but he was overcome by smoke.

“I grabbed it and squirted down the couch that was on fire and then went out the door and called 911," said Hierlmaier.

After calling officials he then called his wife Carol.

“Richard teases me a lot, so when he called last night [Tuesday] he said the house is on fire and I thought, 'oh OK, it’s just a joke cause this just doesn’t happen,'” said Carol Hierlmaier.

But this time it wasn’t a joke.

“I saw the lights and thought I know where they’re at, but I don’t know how much damage was in the house, or even if I have a house left,” said Hierlmaier.

The fire did considerable damage to the home, forcing the family to find shelter elsewhere.

One of the five family pets, a Chihuahua, died of smoke inhalation. Firefighters tried reviving the dog, but their efforts were unsuccessful.

“You just never think it’s going to happen, you wouldn’t expect it at all and it doesn’t take long and it’s gone,” Hierlmaier said.

The American Red Cross is helping the family with temporary shelter. The family does have insurance and will be evaluating the cost of damages.
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