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Monday night fire destroys Farmington home

This fire on Dunbury Knoll was destroyed by fire Monday night.2 / 2

A late night fire Monday destroyed a Farmington house and left the owner and his new roommate without a place to live.

Farmington fire marshal John Powers is still investigating the cause of the blaze, which started outside the home at 18524 Dunbury Knoll just before 11:30 p.m. Monday. The home's owner, Jaysen T. Smith, told Powers he was in his bedroom when he heard something outside.

"(Smith) walked into the bathroom and saw fire coming up the wall outside this bathroom window," Powers said. "He had a fire extinguisher and tried to use it, but when that didn't work he called 911."

Smith was the only person in the house at the time of the fire, though he told Powers he also had a new roommate move in recently. There were no pets in the building.

According to Powers, the call from Smith came in at 11:28 p.m. Paramedics from Allina Ambulance and officers from the Farmington Police Department were the first to arrive. Both saw heavy fire coming through the roof when they got to the scene. When Farmington Fire Chief 2 Troy Corrigan arrived 5 1/2 minutes after the call, Corrigan reported fire shooting through the front window.

Both of Farmington's engines were put into use, with firefighters attacking the blaze with hoses from one side, and with a large nozzle mounted on top of one of the trucks from the other. The Lakeville Fire Department also responded with its ladder truck, allowing firefighters to attack the fire from above.

It took firefighters 90 minutes to get the blaze under control, Powers said. The fire was put out within three hours, but Powers called crews back around 7:30 a.m. because he discovered a hot spot while surveying the back of the building.

Neighbor Tim Castagna watched the fire from his home across the pond from Smith's residence.

"We could feel the heat from over at our place," he said. "I was amazed at how high the debris goes in the air. I was a little afraid it would land on our house and set something on fire."

The homes on either side of Smith's house received damage, as well. Both had fire damage to the siding, and the roof of one home will need to be repaired. Powers estimates the damage to those homes to be about $20,000.

The extensive damage to Smith's house limits the access Powers has to the house at this point, but after interviewing Smith and studying the back of the house, Powers has determined the fire started on the back deck. A grill was on the deck but Powers is not sure at this point whether it was the cause. The fire could have also been started by an electrical malfunction or other items on the deck could have contributed, Powers said.

Since the entire back of the home is gone, Powers said the house is a complete loss. He estimated content damage at around $100,000. According to Dakota County tax records, Smith purchased the home in April, 2011, for $251,000.

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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