Person dies in structure fire in International Falls

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Update: The Northernaire barge structure fire claimed the life of one person after further investigation.

The Koochiching County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release regarding the fire that the body of an 85-year-old woman was discovered around 11:20 p.m. on August 24. The victims of the fire are related and operate the resort where she was.

Officials report that the second victim, a 51-year-old woman, attempted to enter the structure to save her mother. This victim was then sent to Rainy Lake Medical Center in critical condition and then sent to a higher level trauma center by airlift. Currently, his condition is unknown. The third victim, a 12-year-old girl, remains in stable condition at Rainy Lake Medical Center.

The scene of the fire was officially cleared at 3 a.m. after firefighters worked until early morning to douse the flames.

Two firefighters suffered from dehydration and heat exhaustion. They were sent to a medical facility but were later released after being found to be in good condition. Four other firefighters also suffered from dehydration and heat exhaustion, but did not require hospitalization.

Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, the Koochiching County Sheriff’s Office says it was accidental. No suspicious activity is suspected.

The deceased’s body was sent to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office. Relatives have already been notified.

Original post (08/25/2022, 10:20 a.m.):

A structure fire on Rainy Lake sent two people to hospital last night.

According to the Koochiching County Sheriff’s Office, on Wednesday, August 24, at approximately 5:11 p.m., deputies were alerted to a structure fire at Northernaire Houseboats on Rainy Lake. When the International Falls Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene, the main structure of the Northernaire Houseboats office/home was completely engulfed. Since one part was an older log structure, the fire was harder to fight and hotter than usual. Around 8:25 p.m., the firefighters managed to extinguish the fire and enter the clean-up phase.

The sheriff’s office reports that two victims, not named in the statement, were injured in the fire. One of them, seriously injured, was taken to a medical facility for next-level trauma care. The second victim is being treated at Rainy Lake Medical Center and is believed to be in stable condition.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown and is being investigated by the Minnesota Fire Marshal’s Office. The Koochiching County Sheriff’s Office, Little Fork Volunteer Fire Department and International Falls Ambulance Service all responded to the scene.

No further information is available at this time.

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