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Farmington firefighter was in the right place to spot a home fire

Farmington firefighter Todd Kindseth just happened to be in the right place at the right time Saturday.

Kindseth was near the Conoco station at the intersection of Highway 3 and County Road 50 around 4 p.m. Saturday when he noticed thick, black smoke curling from an area not too far away.

As assistant chief of the fire department's rescue crew, Kindseth knew what that kind of smoke meant. It wasn't a recreational fire. It wasn't someone burning leaves. There was a house on fire somewhere close by, so he went to find it.

He was right. Turning onto the 600 block of Seventh Street, Kindseth quickly located the home. It was easy to spot. The south side of the building was on fire. He called it in, and within minutes he was joined by members of the Farmington Fire Department.

According to fire marshal John Powers, the fire itself was under control within 30 minutes of the fire department's arrival. The homeowner was taken to a hospital because he received minor burns to his hands and face when he tried to re-enter the burning house. Powers believes the man was trying rescue his pet inside. Kindseth had to restrain the owner so he would not be seriously injured. The pet died in the fire.

The fire department was called back the following day when light smoke was spotted coming out of the roof. Firefighters sprayed the house with foam to extinguish the hot spot.

Powers said a homemade smoker grill near the house appears to have been the cause of the fire. The flame from the smoker apparently ignited some leaves and branches, and the fire spread to the south side of the house. Flames entered through the kitchen, then spread to the interior. The house was gutted by the fire, Powers said.

"There was extensive damage throughout the home," Powers said, "but the time of the day and the early arrival (of the fire department) made it easier for us to control it without the fire spreading too much, and we were able to save some of his personal belongings."

The resident is reportedly staying with family in Dakota County.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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