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House fire claims life of rural Somerset man

Investigation continues into the cause of a fire that claimed the life of a rural Somerset man late Friday and sent his wife to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

The St. Croix County Emergency Communications Center began receiving calls of a structure fire at 2107 CTH I in the town of Somerset just before 11 p.m., Friday, Oct. 5th.

Firefighters from Somerset and Town of St. Joseph were dispatched. They later requested help from Osceola, New Richmond and Hudson fire departments.

Upon arrival, fire crews were told that one person escaped the fire but another individual was still in the home. Once the fire was extinguished, the remains of a body was found in the house.

Authorities did not release the name of the deceased but the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has indentified the victim as Thomas Cook, 72. His wife, Linda, 62, told family members that she escaped the burning farmhouse, she thought her husband was behind her.

Somerset fire chief Travis Belisle told the newspaper the house was about half-engulfed in flames when the first units arrived and the fire was being fanned by strong winds.

Linda Cook was transported by Lakeview EMS to Regions. Her injuries were described as non-life threatening.

Relatives said Mr. Cook had lived at the home where generations of his family had lived before him.

St. Croix land records indicate the home is owned by Leona, Thomas and Linda Cook.

The Wisconsin Fire Marshal's office is assisting the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department in the ongoing investigation.