A Hollywood Township home was destroyed by fire in the early morning hours of Thursday, Nov. 1. Watertown Fire Department Chief Wade Stock described the home, both structure and content, as a total loss.
Six area fire departments responded to the fire at the home of Dale and Debra Kompelien at 3585 Stone Ave. Stock was the first to arrive on the scene after getting the call at 5:15 a.m.
“Fire was already coming through the roof, and when I did my walk-around, there was fire on most levels,” Stock said.
According to Stock, only Dale Kompelien was home at the time of the fire, but he was not injured. Stock said Kompelien is the one that reported the fire, several hours after starting the wood fireplace. Stock added that while officials are concentrating on the area of the wood stove in their investigation, largely because of the timing, an official cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
Other fire departments to provide aid included Lester Prairie, Mayer, New Germany, Waconia and Winsted. Those departments assisted with both manpower and shuttling water to the scene, which can be a challenge for fires in rural settings, such as this one. The Saint Bonifacius Fire Department was called to cover Watertown’s station during the incident.
Adding to the challenge for fire fighters, at least initially, is that Kompelien is a firearms dealer who had a large amount of ammunition stored on the property. At one point in the early going, Stock said thousands of rounds ammunition were going off at once.
“It sounded like a popcorn popper,” Stock said. “When you’re dragging hose lines and that stuff is going off right in front of you, it really wakes you up.”