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Fire damages Farmington home

Arik Reger talks to Lakeville fire marshal Brian Carstensen after fire drove Reger from his home Tuesday morning. Farmington firefighters rescued Reger's cat, and a pet dog also made it from the home safely.1 / 3
Neighbor Cris Gerster took this photo of a Tuesday morning Fire on Eaglewood Trail.2 / 3
A Farmington firefighter works on extinguishing a smoldering fire in the garage of the 18800 block of Eaglewood Tr., Tuesday morning. Cause of the fire is still under investigation.3 / 3

Arik Reger is shaken up, but at least he's alive after the house he was sleeping in caught fire Tuesday morning.

The house sustained significant damage to the garage, roof and attic, but Reger and a pet dog and cat all made it out of the home alive, thanks to a complete stranger.

The Farmington Fire Department was called to a garage fire at the 18800 block of Eaglewood Trail just after 8 a.m. Farmington police sergeant Jim Murphy was the first to arrive, and found the garage fully engulfed in fire.

Outside the home, Murphy found the passerby who had called in the fire. According to Murphy, the man had been driving past the home and spotted the garage on fire. He ran up to the front door and knocked. Getting no answer, Rose kicked in the door and ran inside the home.

In one of the bedrooms, Muprhy said, the man found Reger asleep. The man woke Reger, then went to check the rest of the house. The man had left the building when Murphy arrived, and told Murphy that Reger was still inside getting dressed.

"I got to the entry way, and it was filled with smoke," Murphy said, "so I started yelling 'Get out! Get out!'"

Reger was trying to save the dog and cat in the house, Murphy said. The dog went out a back door, but the cat had hidden. Reger left the house without the pet.

The Farmington Fire Department arrived within minutes. According to Farmington fire marshal John Powers, the fire started in the garage and was fully involved when firefighters arrived. They enlisted the assistance of the Lakeville Fire Department and its ladder truck, and had the fire knocked down in less than an hour.

"The bulk of the fire was on the exterior part of the house," Powers said at the scene, "but it did get under the eaves and the roof."

Firefighters were also able to rescue the cat, Powers said.

At the scene, Farmington building official Ken Lewis said the house would have to have significant restoration, mostly to clear the smoke damage to the interior. He had not had an opportunity to go into the house to survey the damage at the time, because firefighters were still working on the smoldering fire in the eaves and attic of the house.

As of Tuesday morning, Powers could not say how the fire started. He planned to start his investigation once the scene was cleared.

According to Murphy, Reger rents the house with his brother, Shawn Reger, and a roommate, Aaron Ulvi. Shawn Reger and Ulvi had both left for work at the time of the fire, Murphy said, but Arik Reger works overnights and was the only one home, in bed asleep.

The man who reported the fire did not stay around long, Murphy said. Once firefighters arrived and he gave his statement, the passerby told Murphy, "I have to go," and left.

Other than to say he was "pretty shaken up," Reger was not ready to comment.

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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