BARROWS, Minn.-Firefighters recovered the body of a 60-year-old woman Monday night from a fire-ravaged trailer home near Barrows just outside of Brainerd..
The Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office reported Tuesday the body of Suzette Rhea Scheeler, 60, was sent to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy. Preliminary autopsy results indicate Scheeler died from smoke inhalation as a result of the fire, a news release stated.
Reached by phone Tuesday, Teasha Scheeler of Brainerd confirmed her mother, who preferred to be called Sue, died in the home Monday night.
The Minnesota State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating to determine the cause of the fire, the sheriff's office reported. In a news release, Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes said it cannot be determined whether the house had working smoke detectors. Damage is estimated at $50,000.
The Brainerd Fire Department responded at 8:10 p.m. Monday to the 5300 block of Brandon Way in Crow Wing Township, west of Barrows. A caller reported they believed someone was still in the home, according to Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes.
At the scene of the fire, Trevor Warner and Katie Ruesken told the Brainerd Dispatch they were the neighbors who called 911. The pair, who moved across the street from Scheeler's home a month ago, said they saw the fire through their window and were instructed by a dispatcher to check whether it was a brush fire or a structure fire.
When they saw it was their neighbor's home and a vehicle was in the driveway, they tried to warn any possible occupants.
"I pulled my truck up and I blared on the horn and I yelled hello, but nobody answered," Ruesken said.
Although Warner and Ruesken described seeing a Christmas tree burning inside Scheeler's home, Holmes said firefighters did not find evidence of a tree.
Twenty-seven firefighters, Crow Wing Sheriff's Office personnel, North Memorial medical responders and fire marshal's office officials were on scene as the eastern half of the mobile home caved in under intense heat.
In addition to Brainerd's department, the Nisswa Fire Department was called for mutual aid to assist with water supply. With no fire hydrants nearby, a pumper truck filled a drop tank from which the hoses drew water.
Firefighters stood on a charred, smoking deck once attached to the home, dousing the fire as it moved through the building. A detached garage, near the home, did not appear damaged by the fire.
Emergency personnel cleared the scene of the fire at 11:30 p.m.