• Home owner thankful for police, fire and to live in a caring community by Jim Boyle Editor Unsuspecting passersby wouldn’t realize a majestic cedar log home at 9702 Viking Blvd. has been partially gutted by fire and further damaged by copious amounts of smoke and water. The 3,767-square-foot gated home, buil
t in 2011 with ranch-style fencing surrounding green horse pastures out in front, still has a presence, but upon closer look, the peak over the garage is now transparent. A May 31 fire took out an exercise room and craft room located above the home’s garage after an apparent lightning strike during a recent thunderstorm. Robert Knight, the home’s owner, who was out of town traveling on business when the fire broke out, said what matters is no one was home and no one was hurt. That includes the Elk River businessman’s 2-pound puppies that the Elk River Police retrieved from the burning home. “I’m just so thankful for that, to live in a community like this and fortunate to have a police and fire department such as ours,” Knight said. “They saved my animals. All the other stuff is just stuff.” Elk River Police and Fire were called to the home at 9:47 p.m. May 31 on a report of a house fire. Upon arrival, police and fire crews could see flames coming from the south side of the garage. The fire remains under investigation, but it’s believed that the blaze was most likely started by lightning, according to District Chief Phil Collins of the Elk River Fire Department. There were nine departments called out to the blaze, including Big Lake, Zimmerman, Rogers, Anoka, Champlin, Oak Grove, Andover and Ramsey. Tankers brought water and engines brought personnel. “It ran like an orchestra,” Collins said, expressing his appreciation for the mutual aid. Knight was contacted by Elk River Police Officer Andy Zabee about the fire and got permission for him and his partner to force their way into the home to get two dogs out of the house. The animals were turned over to the key holder, Elk River Police Capt. Bob Kluntz reported. The fire was almost entirely contained to the garage, but it did encroach on a master bathroom and a master closet, in the second level of the home. Collins said the whole house, however, sustained smoke and water damage. The last fire crew cleared at 3 a.m. June 1, with Collins clearing from the scene after daybreak to ensure the fire didn’t start back up, he said. Knight, who bought the 30-acre parcel in 2010 started to build his “dream home” in 2011 and finished it in 2012. He said he plans to rebuild the home and stay in the community that he has grown to love.