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Death at scene of Somerset house fire ruled a suicide

Firefighters found a body while responding to a house fire at 427 230th Ave. in the Town of Somerset on Wednesday morning. The death was ruled a suicide. (Photo by Micheal Foley)

A man found at the scene of a Town of Somerset house fire last Wednesday morning died as a result of suicide, according to authorities.

Emergency personnel were dispatched to 427 230th Ave. at about 10 a.m. on Wednesday after neighbors reported smoke coming from the home. According to St. Croix County Chief Deputy Scott Knudson, firefighters discovered the body of Mark Gjerstad, 54, in the home along with a weapon. 

"They had to regroup once they realized it had become a crime scene," Knudson said. "They also had to search for any other victims and extinguish any other fires that were in the house. That heightened their senses a little bit, but they did a good job."

Knudson said the St. Croix County Medical Examiner responded to the scene and the Ramsey County Medical Examiner later ruled the death a suicide after autopsy.

Knudson said several fires had started throughout the house.

According to property records, Mark and Sandra Gjerstad have owned the property since 2003.

According to court records, Sandra Gjerstad filed for divorce on April 1. 

"There's a ripple effect that these suicides have," Knudson said. "This family has now got to pick up the pieces."

The incident remains under investigation by the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office and the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Micheal Foley
Micheal Foley worked at RiverTown Multimedia from July 2013 to June 2015 as editor at the New Richmond News. 
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