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Fire destroys Becker County home

Fire destroyed a Becker County home Saturday afternoon, leaving the family in the hands of the Red Cross.

Detroit Lakes firefighters were called to the home of Tim and Kay Graham, located on Borah Road, off Highway 29 between Detroit Lakes and Frazee, around 3:10 p.m. Saturday. Part of the family was home at the time of the fire.

Assistant Fire Chief Dave Baer said the family was attempting to thaw pipes under their modular home with a couple space heaters when the structure ignited.

Kay Graham said the water and sewer pipes had been frozen for a couple weeks and her husband had been thawing them with a self-contained (no blowing) heater under the house. He had been checking the situation every 30 minutes and then he and their son, Josh, left briefly.

She said she was pouring hot water and Hylex down the toilet and a white cloud started pouring out, filling the area with a white vapor. She opened windows and soon saw black smoke rolling out of a different area of the house.

She said she's unsure if there was a chemical reaction, the heaters or possibly cats under the house started the fire. An insurance adjuster was visiting the scene Monday afternoon to assess the damage.

Graham said when she saw the smoke rolling out, she ran from the house, in her bare feet, because she feared the house could explode due to the wood fire and propane at the house.

She did, however, grab a pair of shoes on the way out of the house. But that's about all the family has now.

"It's all history," she said Monday. "Everything is toasted."

She said her rings she had taken off were gone, everything in her purse -- drivers license, cash, credit cards, car keys -- items for her forthcoming grandchild, everything is now gone.

Baer said the Detroit Lakes Fire Department, with the help of Audubon and Frazee fire departments, attempted to put out the fire from the inside, but because the blaze was compromising the roof, for safety reasons the firefighters exited the home and continued to extinguish the flames from the outside.

He said they were on the scene for about three hours.

The Red Cross assisted the family's "emergency needs," providing the family with financial assistance for food and clothing and a hotel voucher for a local hotel for three nights.

Graham said after those three nights are up, the family of four will need to find an apartment or house to rent for the time being.

An account for donations has been set up at Bremer Bank in Detroit Lakes for Tim and Kay Graham and their family.