Weather Forecast


House fire displaces one; town of RF home heavily damaged

River Falls firefighters feed hose to a comrade inside the O'Leary home as interior crews pulled down walls and doused embers about 6:40 a.m., Saturday.1 / 2
A River Falls Rural Fire Association tanker, right, dumped water while a pumper pushed the water to several hand lines.2 / 2

An early morning fire Saturday displaced one man and may have killed at least one pet.

River Falls firefighters were alerted to the structure fire at W8971 710th Ave. in the town of River Falls at 6:10 a.m.

When the first truck arrived, the living room and west end of a two-story farm house were engulfed in flames. Within minutes, crews had the fire knocked down but took about an hour to expose and extinguish fire in walls and ceiling of the home.

Pierce County land records indicate the farm, located about quarter-mile west of CTH O and about two miles off Hwy. 65, is owned by Brian O'Leary.

O'Leary said he lives in a second home just west of the fire scene and rents out the old farmstead. He wasn't sure how his renter, a single man, was awakened when the fire was discovered. At least one dog was still unaccounted for and may have perished in the blaze.

The Red Cross was alerted to assist the homeless man.

Crews fought the fire with water from a drop-tank deployed in "U" shaped driveway and kept it filled with two tankers. A third tanker was provided by the Ellsworth Fire Department. A tanker refill site was set up near the Cemstone plant off Cemetery Road on the city's south side.

River Falls EMS provided support for firefighters and three Pierce County deputies blocked traffic on 710th Avenue until about 8 a.m. All crews cleared the scene about 8:15 a.m.

More details on the fire will be provided in the April 1 edition of the River Falls Journal.

Steve Dzubay

Steve Dzubay has been publisher at the River Falls Journal and Hudson Star Observer from 1995-2016. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. He previously worked as a reporter-photographer at small daily newspapers in Minnesota and is past editor of the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal.