Fire destroys Oakdale townhouse


A townhouse on Hillvale Ave. N. in Oakdale sustained major damage after an April 9 fire. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

No one injured in blaze

 

A fire destroyed an Oakdale townhouse on the 1100 block of Hillvale Avenue N. last week, less than a month after a homeowner died in another townhouse fire in the city.

Firefighters responded to an emergency call just after 7 p.m. April 9. One of the units in a large two-story, seven-unit townhouse complex had been fully engulfed in flames, and the fire had extended to an adjoining unit.

Fire crews worked quickly to prevent the fire from spreading, said Oakdale Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Wold, and fire crews from the cities of Woodbury, Maplewood, Lake Elmo and North St. Paul also responded.

“It was a really aggressive attack by our crews that were able to prevent the spread,” Wold said.

The fire completely destroyed one townhouse and caused smoke and water damage to an adjoining unit, Wold said. A family of four that had been inside the destroyed unit escaped unharmed, and no other residents or firefighters were injured in the blaze.

Firefighters had to shut of the gas and electric utilities for the complex, so all residents were temporarily displaced. The Red Cross provided assistance for residents.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and Wold said it will likely take longer to process evidence because the townhouse in which the blaze originated partially collapsed.

Last month, firefighters found the body of 65-year-old Catherine Weschcke, a longtime teacher in the Stillwater Area School District, in a burning townhouse on the 7000 block of 19th Street. Firefighters later determined the cause of that fire was accidental and related to smoking materials.

Wold said though it’s unknown what may have caused this most recent fire, the department encourages residents to follow a number of fire safety tips, including to make sure there are always good batteries in smoke detectors, keep homes free of clutter, avoid using multi-plug adapters, and to be careful when using smoking materials or candles.

-Alex Holmquist

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