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Fire crews battle rural house blaze

Police tape surrounds the Thomas and Kathleen Horsch home in Clifton Tuesday morning hours after firefighters from three area departments extinguished a blaze that started in the attached garage. -- Photo by Steve Dzubay

Prescott firefighters had help from Ellsworth and River Falls' fire departments in battling a house fire in the Cedar St. Croix addition north of Prescott in the town of Clifton Monday night.

The attached two-car garage of a home at 12945 640th Ave., west of Hwy. 29, was engulfed when the first Prescott rig arrived at the scene shortly after the alarm was received just before 9 p.m., according to Prescott Fire Chief Bill Dravis.

Prescott quickly requested water tankers from Ellsworth and River Falls.

Because Monday evening is "drill night" for most area fire departments and both Ellsworth and River Falls have water tankers with crew cabs, both departments sent along five-person fire-fighting crews, Dravis said.

Likewise, Prescott's firefighters were dressed and ready to roll when the alarm came so response time was fast.

Dravis said the blaze, which he believes started accidentally in the garage area, burned through the firewall into the split-level, ranch-style home.

Most of the fire's penetration into the house was in the second-story but roof trusses were heavily damaged. Dravis speculated the house may be a total loss.

The Thomas and Kathleen Horsch family was home when the fire began. Everyone got out safely, the chief said. The family has taken up temporary residence with relatives in the Hastings, Minn., area.

Prescott's tankers can carry a total of 7,000 gallons and coupled with another 2,000 and 3,000 gallons, respectively, carried by River Falls' and Ellsworth' trucks, firefighters were able to keep pace, shuttling water the mile or so from Prescott.

Dravis said he and the last firefighters cleared the scene about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Pierce County property records say the home and outbuildings sit on five acres. The improvements have an assessed value of about $180,000.