Mission firefighters discovered the body of an 84-year-old Mission Township man in a grass fire, the first of two grassfires they battled Wednesday afternoon.
Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl said Mission firefighters responded at 5:11 p.m. Wednesday to a grass fire near County Roads 3 and 109. While fighting the blaze they discovered the burned body of Walter William Graf, 84, who lived nearby.
Dahl said it is unclear as to what happened and how the fire got started. An autopsy was scheduled for Thursday to determine a cause of death but foul play isn't suspected. Dahl said according to family members Graf hadn't been feeling well but he had gone back into the woods to pick up some dirt on his four-wheeler. Family members told law enforcement that they don't believe he was going back there to burn anything, said Dahl.
Mission firefighter Randy Roach said the grass fire had grown to more than an acre before firefighters extinguished the blaze. The DNR also responded to the scene.
Mission firefighters also responded to another grass fire at 6:49 p.m. Wednesday on County Road 19 in Merrifield. The DNR and Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department also responded. The grass fire was about a quarter of an acre, said Roach.
"It is very dry out there and we certainly want people to be aware that this time every year the fires can get away from anyone real quick," said Dahl. "Please use caution and common sense."
JODIE TWEED may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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