A downtown Park Rapids home sustained heavy smoke and fire damage Wednesday afternoon in a blaze that snarled downtown traffic and brought many onlookers to the scene.
The homeowner, Karen Karl, said she had walked from the house at 211 Pleasant Avenue to the downtown area to run an errand shortly after 4 p.m.
"I wasn't even gone a half hour," she said. The main floor of her home was in flames.
Twenty Park Rapids firefighters converged on the scene, which attracted dozens of spectators.
Assistant Fire Chief Terry Long said the cause of the fire is under investigation. The fire spread to the wooden home's second floor.
"I think I may have left a candle burning," Karl said.
Friends and family gathered on the street corner to comfort her. Karl's son-in-law, Richie Ness, was one of the firefighters that responded just before 4:30 p.m.
Park Rapids police blocked off streets, but one block away Main Avenue is under construction so traffic was rerouted to Court Avenue a block west.
Karl said the home is insured.