Mayor loses dog in early morning fire

AUSTIN, Minn. – Mayor, Tom Stiehm and his wife Sarah are without a home after an early morning fire.

The Austin Fire Department was called around 7 a.m. to a report of smoke coming from a home on the 500 block of 15th Ave. SW. When they arrived they saw smoke coming from the main floor and upstairs, and flames coming from the basement.

Tom and Sarah made it out of the home safely, as did one of their dogs according to Chief Jim McCoy, but one dog did not.

McCoy says the fire started in the basement, but do not know an exact location. The state fire marshal’s office will be investigating.

“The residents do not remember hearing any smoke detectors go off, so that’s a lesson to everybody. They were lucky to get out this time, but we need to make sure we have smoke detectors on every floor, in every bedroom, along with a CO detector. Make sure they’re working and change your batteries,” McCoy said.

He said the house is unlivable right now, so they are working with the Red Cross for any assistance that is needed.

A neighbor was treated for smoke inhalation with some oxygen, and McCoy said she is fine now. Two firefighters were treated for exhaustion and are also fine.

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