Forum News Service, Published February 25 2013
84-year-old man dies in house fire southwest of Thief River FallsTHIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. - An elderly man died Thursday evening in a fire that destroyed his rural home southwest of Thief River Falls.
Pennington County Sheriff Ray Kuznia said the body of John Clover Meyers, 84, was found in his home about six miles northwest of St. Hilaire after the fire was extinguished.
A passerby who lives in the area called in the fire at 9:46 p.m. Thursday, Kuznia said.
“The home was already completely engulfed when the caller was speaking on the phone,” Kuznia said Monday. “By the time deputies arrived on the scene, only two chimneys were standing; the house had already fallen in.”
The St. Hilaire fire department arrived by 10 p.m. and could do nothing but put out the fire. The Thief River Falls fire department sent a pumper truck to the scene, too, Kuznia said.
The body found in the south side of the ruins was taken to Grand Forks, where the office of Dr. Mary Sens, a forensic pathologist, determined it was Meyers, who lived alone in the older farm house, Kuznia said.
“The autopsy did determine he died from the fire, of smoke inhalation and heat,” Kuznia said.
There is no evidence of foul play, he said. Nobody else was in the house.
Two dogs in the house died in the fire, while one outside survived and was taken to the humane society in Thief River Falls, Kuznia said.
Meyers’ son, who lives in St. Hilaire, owns the house, Kuznia said.
“He burned wood, so we are presuming it was that,” Kuznia said. While a state fire marshal is investigating the fire, the destruction was so complete that finding an origin point or cause might be impossible, Kuznia said.