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Firefighters from Cottage Grove hold a line on hot spots at a house fire Friday in Afton while a backhoe demolishes the home's remains. Bulletin photo by Mike Longaecker

Candle suspected in fire that destroyed Afton home

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Candle suspected in fire that destroyed Afton home
Cottage Grove Minnesota 7584 80th Street South 55016

Firefighters suspect a knocked-over candle was responsible for a fire that completely destroyed an Afton home early Friday.

No residents or firefighters were hurt in the residential structure fire, located at 1171 Manning Ave. S.

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Capt. Dave Schneider of the Lower St. Croix Fire Department said a resident called in a possible structure fire at 4:18 a.m.

The home, a two-story structure -- the upper section of which was built from log timbers -- was fully involved when firefighters arrived.

"It went up pretty quick," Schneider said.

Fighting the fire was a challenge since water lines did not extend to the residence. Making matters worse was a half-mile driveway firefighters had to negotiate on their way to the home.

"It was kind of challenging getting water," Schneider said, noting that multiple tanker trucks were needed and that a water line near Gander Mountain in Woodbury was also tapped.

In addition to Lower St. Croix, crews from Woodbury, Cottage Grove, Oakdale, Lake Elmo, Hudson and Bayport battled the fire.

Crews were also hampered by lingering heat and heavy humidity, Schneider said.

Resident Kelly Naugle was at the scene Friday morning as crews continued to extinguish smoldering debris and small fires that sprung up from heat trapped in the remaining log timbers.

He said he was "devastated" after receiving word that his home of 10 years was burning down.

"I couldn't believe it," Naugle said, noting that he was at a friend's house and a roommate was home at the time of the fire.

Schneider said early reports from witnesses were that a lit candle in a bedroom likely caused the blaze.

Crews were still on the scene at 9:30 a.m., when a backhoe arrived to tear down the remaining structure, while firefighters sprayed down the burning debris.

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Mike Longaecker
Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker
(715) 426-1072
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