Katie Lange, WDAY, Published May 16 2013
While destroying homes and scenery, Minnesota wildfire sparing some
Tonight you can see there is still a lot of action taking place at the incident command center in downtown Menagha. Multiple fire departments are still in town. It's fair to say they've seen the wrath of mother-nature within the past 24 hours and the mess she can leave behind.
Brad and Marlene Snyder were working at the Shell Gas Station in Menagha when their neighbor called around 8 saying the fire had spared their home. Within minutes, that news would change.
"About 45 minutes later he called and he said there's a fire back on the south side of your place we're going over there, we'll put it out," Marlene Snyder said.
The Snyders raced home and began using pails to put out the small fire in their backyard. It was while doing so, something caught Marlene's eye.
"I saw a flash in the house and realized that the house was on fire," she said.
Fire crews tried to squelch the inferno, but it would continue to spread.
"It's not anything you can recognize upstairs," Marlene said. "There is nothing. There are some dishes that fell out of the cupboard that you can see are dishes but other than that there is nothing. There is nothing, nothing you can even recognize to know what it was."
Marlene says while the house is a total loss, as devastating as that is, her once beautiful lush backyard is what she will miss the most.
"I love the trees out here," she said. "I loved the place and it was a just a real calming feeling out here, a real warm place."
Living in what is often referred to as the gateway to the pines it's no surprise Marlene's neighbors, much like herself, also love of the outdoors.
"Once you hit these pines and this scenic area, it's just really beautiful," Gordon Marjama said. "It lightens the heart but right now things are kind of dim."
Gordon Marjama has lived along highway 71 for more than 15 years. He raised his sons on this farmyard, many a thoroughbred horses and even ran his own business, Marjama Painting and Sandblasting.
"Unbelievable. Within 200 or 300 hundred so it was a really hot fire to melt the metal this way," he said.
Everything within its path, the fire miraculously left one thing untouched.
"Somebody came by and told me the fire actually jumped over the house," Marjama said. "How that happened, I don't know. Maybe it was the good Lord protecting."
As neighbors begin to see the full extent of the devastation, they know there's only one thing they can do.
"It's heartbreaking there is really nothing you can do but try to go forward at this point," Marjama said.
The amazing part is that even though Brad and Marlene knew their home was on fire, when the city asked them to keep the Shell store open all night for fire crews, the gladly accepted. If that isn’t courage, I don't know what is.