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Thursday fire destroys Castle Rock home

Firefighters spent 45 minutes getting flames under control and more than two hours making sure there was nothing left smoldering Thursday.1 / 2
Fire burns at a Castle Rock Township home Thursday morning. Photo courtesy Farmington Fire Department.2 / 2

A Thursday morning fire destroyed most of a Castle Rock township home and caused approximately $220,000 in damage, despite the efforts of three area fire departments.

At approximately 10:50 a.m., a passerby on Highway 3 called 911 to report smoke coming from the roof of a home owned by Richard and Lynnea Mayer, on the 24500 block of Chippendale Avenue (Highway 3). A second caller reported flames shooting from a bedroom window on the north side of the home, according to Farmington fire marshal John Powers.

The Farmington Fire Department was dispatched. Because the home is Castle Rock and no water sources are available in that location, Powers called Northfield and Lakeville departments for mutual aid. Each brought out tanker trucks. Lakeville also supplied its bucket truck, in case firefighters needed to attack the fire from above.

Upon arrival, Powers found "heavy fire" on the north side of the house, and could see smoke billowing from within. There were no cars in the driveway, he said. Firefighters found no one inside the home.

It took fire fighters about 45 minutes to get the flames under control, Powers said. However, firefighters continued "chasing" the fire through the home for more than two hours, because it was smoldering inside the building's insulation.

Firefighters also started to remove charred pieces of furniture and belongings in an effort to extinguish the fire. Powers said firefighters were able to save the family cat, as well as an urn containing family remains.

Powers began his investigation into the cause Thursday afternoon. The fire has been ruled accidental, Powers said. However, the exact cause is still undetermined.

The fire stared in a bedroom on the north side of the building, near the bed. Powers found several possible sources -- a space heater in the room may have malfuctioned, the electrical wiring may have been faulty. He is not ruling out a spontaneous heating source -- possibly chemicals on rags or cotton balls found near the point of origin -- as a possible cause.

A preliminary estimate provided by the homeowners' insurance company places the building loss at $150,000, and content loss at $70,000.

Premier Bank in Farmington has set up a fund to help the Mayers. Anyone wishing to make a contribution may do so by stopping at the Oak Street location of Premier Bank.

Due to the number of emergency vehicles that were on the scene, both lanes of Highway 3 were closed for more than an hour. The southbound lane was closed longer.