Family Displaced after Fire Damages West Duluth Home

January 19, 2015 08:18 PM

One man was treated for smoke inhalation after a fire at a West Duluth home Monday morning.

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The Duluth Fire Department said it received a report of a porch fire in the home on North 60th Avenue West just after 10 a.m.  The fire was extending up the outside of the house to the second floor when firefighters arrived.

Neighbors called Dale Sargent who was at work at the time, that the childhood home he shares with his mother, Carol, and brother, Don, was up in smoke. He rushed home from work and started running toward the home where three police officers had to help calm him. 

"Oh I was running. I didn't know what else to do," Sargent said. "What do you do when you have a fire? It's pretty scary. I wasn't sure if there was anybody still in the house or anything."

Firefighters say all occupants initially exited the house, but Don Sargent returned and had to be rescued. Another family member was asleep in the home when the fire started. He got out on his own but had to be taken to a hospital for treatment of minor smoke inhalation.

Most of the windows were knocked out by fire crews and there were still flames by the porch when Sargent returned home. Smoke was also coming from upstairs windows. Sargent said it was difficult to see, as he's been making improvements to the longtime family home. 

"We were working on fixing up rooms," Sargent said. "I was just getting ready to carpet the one room. I had it ready. (I) can't do that now."

The fire department says the fire caused at least $35,000 of damage. Assistant Fire Chief Clint Reff says most of the contents of the house were destroyed, but structure is salvageable thanks to a quick response that stopped the fire from making significant extension upstairs. 

It's a big loss for this family, and Sargent said there won't be any insurance money to help. 

"I told my mom, she needed insurance, but she said nobody would insure it because of the siding," Sargent said. "It's like a total loss."

Even while he was looking at the home he won't soon return to, Sargent said there's relief. 

"At least there's not tragedies," Sargent said. "These things can be replaced."

Neighbors say their community is a tight-knit one, and that Sargent often helps with handiwork. Many offered to do what they could to help return the favor. 

"We have lots of good friends here," Sargent said. "They're all willing to help us. I've known a lot of these people for years."

A family friend told said they'll set up a fund to help the Sargent family on Tuesday since banks were closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday Monday. 

The Duluth Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the cause of the fire.


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