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Town of Star Prairie cottage destroyed by fire

A neighbor snapped a shot of the fire that completely destroyed a Town of Star Prairie cottage on 93rd Street in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 8. (Submitted photo)

A cottage on 93rd Street just south of County Road C in the Town of Star Prairie was destroyed in an early morning fire Wednesday, Jan. 8, according to New Richmond Fire Chief Jim VanderWyst.

New Richmond Fire & Rescue responded to the blaze at about 12:40 a.m. after a neighbor saw the blaze and called 911.

According to VanderWyst’s report, the north area of the roof was falling into the home when crews arrived on the scene.

No one was home at the time of the fire, VanderWyst said. Leonard D. Prebish, the occupant of the cottage, was at his girlfriend’s home at the time. He lost all of his belongings, VanderWyst said.

Bitter cold temperatures at the time of the fire didn’t help any, VanderWyst said.

“We worked diligently through minus-16 degree temperatures to extinguish the fire,” VanderWyst said. “It was frosty.”

The fire department’s rescue truck was on hand for crews to warm up in, VanderWyst said.

According to neighbors who live across the street, but didn’t want to be identified, they woke up to the sound of fire trucks around 1 a.m. The neighbors moved cars into their driveway to keep them away from the fire.

Crews were on scene for almost two hours and later returned when a small fire rekindled in the home.

VanderWyst said he believes the cause of the fire, while unknown, was accidental. He doesn’t suspect arson. Prebish told him he had three electrical heaters in the home and heat lamps in a crawl space near the water pipes.

“As far as I’m concerned, the investigation is complete,” VanderWyst said. “It’s up to the insurance company now if they want to investigate further.”

The cottages, owned by William Raleigh of Somerset, are rented out year-round, VanderWyst said.