Flames destroy house in Independence

Fire destroyed the home and garage of Joseph Eichelberger on Saturday, Nov. 12. Occupants evacuated the home at 2615 Providence Court in Independence in time to escape injuries. (Photo courtesy of West Hennepin Public Safety.)
Fire destroyed the home and garage of Joseph Eichelberger on Saturday, Nov. 12. Occupants evacuated the home at 2615 Providence Court in Independence in time to escape injuries. (Photo courtesy of West Hennepin Public Safety.)

Independence residents escaped injury on Saturday, Nov. 12 when flames destroyed their house and garage.

West Hennepin Public Safety Department and Maple Plain Fire Department were dispatched at 12:31 p.m. to a fire inside of a garage with flames seen at 2615 Providence Court, according to police reports.

As WHPS Officer Lance Zilles arrived on scene, he observed flames coming out of the open garage door on the east side of the house. The weather was very windy and the fire was spreading fast. Within a few minutes of his arrival the entire garage was engulfed with flames.

Contact was made with homeowner Joseph Eichelberger, police said. He confirmed that no one was inside, and everyone was evacuated.

Eichelberger had arrived home around noon and parked his vehicle in the garage. He stated his smoke alarms in the residence began to go off about 20 minutes later.

Eichelberger looked in the garage, and it was covered in dark smoke. When the garage door was opened, he observed flames coming from the vehicle and the roof of the garage.

The exact cause of the fire was unknown as of Monday, Nov. 14.

Maple Plain Fire Department, along with six other fire departments in the area, arrived to put out the fire. The fire destroyed the garage, two vehicles inside the garage, the house and multiple items inside.

Assisting fire departments were Loretto Fire, Long Lake Fire, Mound Fire, Hanover Fire, Hamel Fire and Delano Fire.

WHPS Public Safety Director Gary Kroells said, “We are very fortunate nobody was injured and the fire alarms were working properly. The Maple Plain Fire Department did an excellent job of putting out the blaze and providing assistance to the property owner with clean up and reclamation of personal items.”