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Dave Olson, Published May 15 2013

Evacuated Menahga nursing home residents return home after spending night in Sebeka school

SEBEKA, MINN. – The Sebeka School Board was meeting Tuesday night when the phone in district offices started ringing.

Superintendent Dave Fjeldheim said the call was from officials battling a wildfire near Menahga. They wanted to know if residents of the Green Pine Acres Nursing Home could spend the night at the Sebeka School.

The answer was yes and residents were soon arriving at the school.

Fjeldheim said between 100 and 125 people spent Tuesday night in the school. They included nursing home and assisted-living residents, and other Menahga-area residents.

The school fed its guests breakfast at about 6:30 Wednesday morning, and two hours later, nursing home residents started returning to Menahga after getting the OK from officials there, Fjeldheim said. Calmer winds gave firefighters confidence the nursing home was safe, he said.

School was canceled Wednesday in Sebeka, but classes will resume today.

Fjeldheim said students likely won’t have to make up the day. School will close for the summer as planned on May 31.

Fjeldheim said he was impressed by the number of people who volunteered to help nursing home residents deal with their evacuation. Volunteers included the Sebeka girls softball team, who returned from a trip Tuesday night and stayed to pitch in at the school.

“They stuck around until 1, 1:30 (a.m.) helping out,” he said.

“Those kind of things really impress me about our population in general. In times of trouble, people come out and help,” he said.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555