‘I realize how lucky we are’

Family that survived fire thanks responders, community

Fire gutted the inside of this home at 745 W. Third St. in Rush City Jan. 11. It is now boarded up, for safety reasons.  Photo by Derrick Knutson
Fire gutted the inside of this home at 745 W. Third St. in Rush City Jan. 11. It is now boarded up, for safety reasons.
Photo by Derrick Knutson

The windows and doors of the home at 745 W. Third St. in Rush City are now boarded, and a strong smell of smoke is still evident near the house.
Seeing the damage a fire inflicted on the structure Jan. 11, it’s amazing to think that all three people in the home and the family dog escaped unscathed.
The cause of the fire is still being determined, but for Maureen Jordan the reason why it started doesn’t matter. The only important thing is that she, her son and her granddaughter were unharmed.
“Some things are completely unimportant, like all of our clothes and the toys,” she said. “They can be replaced.”

 

Escaping the fire
Jordan said she had awoken briefly before the smoke detector went off after 2 a.m., and when it sounded she was disoriented. She got up, shut the alarm off and walked around the kitchen. Then she realized smoke was wafting up the stairs from the basement.
“The basement was already full of smoke, and when it started coming up the stairs is when the fire alarm went off, and then it went off again,” Jordan said. “We realized we were in trouble.”
Jordan said she took her phone and the three of them grabbed coats and boots and exited the house, along with the dog. It was a cold night, with temperatures hovering around zero degrees. Jordan’s son went back into the house briefly to grab his keys, and by that time she said the smoke was nearly unbearable.
She called 911, and emergency medical service personnel from Lakes Region EMS arrived, as did multiple area fire departments.
“They’re very, very fortunate to be alive,” Rush City Fire Chief Bob Carlson said. “Had there been somebody sleeping in the basement, the chances of them getting out would have been slim to none. It was an ugly fire.”
Jordan echoed Carlson’s sentiment about the escape.

The inside of the home sustained heavy fire and smoke damage. Most of the family’s possessions were destroyed.
The inside of the home sustained heavy fire and smoke damage. Most of the family’s possessions were destroyed.

“We didn’t have much time, I don’t think,” she said. “I realize how lucky we are.”
Carlson said it was integral to the family’s survival that they had functioning smoke detectors on the main level where they were sleeping. He noted the fire might not have been as bad if there had been a fire alarm in the basement.
“It’s important to make sure there are smoke detectors on every level of your home, as well as a carbon monoxide detector within 10 feet of the bedrooms,” Carlson said.
Carlson said putting out the fire and making sure the occupants were OK was a team effort, and he wanted to thank Lakes Region EMS, the Pine City Fire Department, the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office, and the North Branch and Harris fire departments.

Thankful for support
Jordan said she’s had numerous people offer their support to her, and she’s told them that she and her family are doing all right and don’t need anything right now. But she’s very thankful people have been so kind during this trying time. Jordan and her family are staying with friends right now, and they’re still working with their insurance company to get covered for the property and possession loss the fire caused.
Jordan said she wanted to thank the people who went back into the house to retrieve some family photos and other items that weren’t completely destroyed.
“The day after the fire, Bob helped take some pictures out of my granddaughter’s windows, to be restored, if possible,” Jordan said. “The following day the insurance company helped us retrieve some things that were special to us. They’re damaged, but we’re going to try to save them or restore them or something.”
Jordan, who has lived in the community for more than 25 years and works as a paraprofessional at Rush City Schools, said she’d also like to thank all the school personnel for how kind they’ve been to her and people in the community she hardly even knows who have offered their help.
“People I know but I haven’t even been really close to are reaching out to me,” she said. “It’s just been so comforting. I could probably put out a message — I need two chairs or something — and I’d probably have them by the weekend, and I probably wouldn’t even know where they came from. That’s just how it’s been. It’s just been wonderful.”

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