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Man dies in Duluth house fire

The fire was re-ported about 2 a.m. by a person who ran into the a nearby Holiday Station.

Police squads were at the gas station and arrived on the scene within seconds. According to the Duluth Fire Department, the police saw flames coming from the sec-ond story of the house.

Two officers forced their way into the house and found a man lying in the second-story hallway, but they were unable to take him out of the house because of fire condi-tions.

When fire crews arrived about three minutes later, the man was removed but fire-fighters could not resuscitate him. Officials won't release his name until they have completed an investigation of the fire and notified next of kin.

The blaze, which was con-fined to the second story and attic, burned through the roof. It was extinguished within 10 minutes.

Crews, which included six fire rigs and 19 firefighters, stayed on the scene for an-other three hours to do venti-lation, salvage, overhaul and fire investigation work.

The Fire Department esti-mated the loss at about $75,000.

The fire's cause has not been determined, but "we have a pretty good idea of how this fire was started," said Assistant Fire Chief Jim Ray. He did not elaborate.

The couple that lives at that address are long-time residents, neighbors said.

Late Monday morning, the house stood empty with some upper-story windows charred, a hole sawed in the roof and a bag of cellulose insulation that was removed from the attic sitting on the lawn.

Chris Lundberg, a sales as-sociate at the Holiday station, said about 2 a.m. a man in a gold Buick wheeled into the parking lot and ran into the store. He talked to the police officers there and they left quickly, Lundberg said.

The man, who Lundberg did not know, said he banged on the door of the house but no one answered.

After the fire was extin-guished, a fire investigator asked Lundberg whether any suspicious people came and filled up gas cans.

"I know for a fact that no one was out there with a gas can," Lundberg said.

The cause of the man's death is under investigation. An autopsy was to be per-formed, according Ray, but no results were available at press time.

The victim apparently was alone in the house, Ray said.

Police and fire officials are moving quickly to determine what happened, he said.

A medical examiner was expected to come to Duluth from the Twin Cities to per-form the autopsy. "When someone dies, everything is shifted into high gear," Ray said.

A fire-related death is very unusual, he said.