Fire damages Balaton house

Photo by Deb Gau Firefighters lifted a hose up to a second-story window at the rear of a house in Balaton on Friday afternoon. Fire departments from Balaton, Tracy, Garvin and Russell all responded at the scene of the fire.

BALATON — It turned out area firefighters were helping one of their own on Friday, as they worked to put out a house fire in Balaton.

There was no one at home when a fire was reported at a residence on the 200 block of West First Street in Balaton early Friday afternoon, said Balaton Fire Chief Troy Wendland. However, he said the residence was the home of a Balaton Fire Department member.

The Balaton Fire Department fought the fire together with the Tracy, Garvin and Russell fire departments. Other responders at the scene included Balaton Ambulance and the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Wendland said.

There were no injuries reported in the fire. But although the house was still standing after firefighters cleared the scene, Wendland said there was “extensive damage” to the interior. The house wasn’t habitable, he said.

Wendland said the Red Cross had been called in to help the residents of the house.

“Our volunteers are responding,” said Carrie Carlson-Guest, regional communications officer for the Minnesota region of the American Red Cross. Carlson-Guest said the Red Cross had received a request from the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office to assist a family of four after the fire.

After a disaster like a house fire, Red Cross disaster response volunteers reach out to a household to help make sure their immediate needs, like housing, food and medications are met, Carlson-Guest said.

“The first thing, we want to make sure they have a warm place to stay,” she said.

Carlson-Guest said disaster response volunteers also follow up with families to help them with a long-term recovery plan.

Disaster response volunteers helped 96 southwest Minnesota households in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, Carlson-Guest said.