BEMIDJI TOWNSHIP – A woman is dead after a house fire east of Bemidji early Friday morning.
Bemidji firefighters received a call at 2:49 a.m. about the fire in the 1000 block of Tyler Avenue Northeast.
Firefighters arrived at the Bemidji Township home to find it engulfed in flames. The fire caused an estimated $98,250 in damage to the home and its contents, according to a news release issued by the Bemidji Fire Department.
Crews contained the fire to prevent it from spreading to other structures on the property.
Once the blaze was extinguished, firefighters discovered the body of an elderly woman. Her name has not been released pending notification of family members.
Fourteen firefighters responded with two fire engines, three water tankers and a ladder truck. The Fire Department was on scene approximately 8 hours.
“We have no reason to believe foul play is involved, be we want to get our investigation done,” said Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp.
He said the manner and cause of death aren’t known, and an autopsy is planned. Officials also are determining the cause of the fire.
Hodapp said a deputy had visited with the woman on Thursday after several property owners in the area reported their mailboxes had been damaged with pumpkins. The deputy had arranged for a new mailbox for the woman.
The Minnesota State Fire Marshall’s Office is assisting the Bemidji Fire Department and sheriff’s office with the investigation. Bemidji Ambulance Service and Beltrami Electric Cooperative provided assistance during the fire call.