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Renters out in the cold after fire in DL

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news Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

A house fire at 1235 East Shore Drive in Detroit Lakes Tuesday left a local couple temporarily homeless.

Detroit Lakes Fire Chief Jeff Swanson said that the fire began in a fireplace in the home and spread from there.

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One of the residents, Eric Stelzer, said that he and his girlfriend, Alexa McKenzie, started a fire in the fireplace earlier in the day.

More logs were added later, he added.

"At about 2:30 (p.m.), she (McKenzie) threw a couple of logs on the fire," Stelzer said.

At some point after that, the fire started, and spread from the chimney to the roof area.

McKenzie noticed it when she came back home from work, and she called Stelzer to tell him that the roof was on fire.

Leaving the house in a hurry, McKenzie left the home without her shoes on.

"It was a good call on their part to get out of there quickly," Swanson said.

Despite extensive smoke and water damage, the house can be saved, Swanson said.

"The house is repairable, but they are out of commission for a while," he said.

Damage is estimated to be between $20,000 and $40,000.

The couple did not have renters' insurance, both Stelzer and McKenzie said.

Swanson said that it's a shame since it's inexpensive compared to the benefits it brings.

"I can't preach enough that people sign up (for insurance)," Swanson said.

Stelzer and McKenzie stayed with family in town for the night.

"They have a lot of family in the area," Swanson said.

Red Cross help would have been available if the couple did not have anyone to stay with, Swanson said.

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