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Big Mantrap Lake home suffers extensive fire damage

The home of Arden and Betty Severson suffered extensive fire damage to the interior Tuesday night when the chimney caught fire. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

A Big Mantrap Lake couple's anniversary didn't quite go as planned Tuesday, although there were ceremonial flames.

Arden and Betty Severson's chimney caught fire and extensively damaged the Steamboat Bay home by the time Nevis firefighters had arrived on the scene about 7 p.m.

The couple, with the help of neighbors, was able to salvage the kitchen stove and dining room table.

Arden Severson said the couple, from Cokato, had come to the lake to make repairs after the recent heavy snowfall, which collapsed the gas line to the home.

"We needed heat so I lit a fire," he said. "I suppose the cinders in the chimney and the wood were both dry."

When the couple realized the fireplace was smoking, they tried to drench the flames themselves and called for help when it looked like the fire was beyond their ability to control.

Then there were phone problems. They hadn't turned on their summer service yet and couldn't get cell phone coverage.

Although the exterior of the home didn't appear badly damaged, fire had consumed the interior,

Neighbor Astrid Bortz helped them haul furniture out and use her home Wednesday until an insurance adjuster came.

Bortz gently chided them about what they planned to do for their 60th anniversary next year and suggested a simple candle might suffice.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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