Fire destroyed a vacant house Thursday afternoon on Bonnie Road, about five miles north of Brainerd off Crow Wing County Road 3.
Brainerd firefighters were called out to the fire at 12:14 p.m. The two-story house had collapsed into its basement within minutes, Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Stunek said. No injuries were reported.
The house, tucked into the woods at 11484 Bonnie Road, is owned by Fred Hahnert. Built in the late 1990s, it had last been lived in two years ago by Hahnert's son and grandson.
Hahnert said the smoke from the fire was noticed by his daughter, who was riding a four-wheeler from his primary residence to hers on a trail through the woods.
"It went fast," Hahnert said. "By the time the fire department got here the whole thing was lying on the ground."
Brainerd firefighters Thursday afternoon doused the charred remains of a burned house on Bonnie Road north of Brainerd. The house, owned by Fred Hahnert, had been vacant about two years and was a total loss. No one was injured in the fire. The cause is under investigation. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey» Purchase reprints of this photo.
The fire is believed to have started in the northeast corner of the house. Stunek said the cause of the fire wasn't immediately known Thursday afternoon and was under investigation.
Hahnert, however, said the fire was suspicious. He noted the electricity to the house had been shut off, no natural gas to the house and no lightning strikes Thursday morning.
"Somebody has been in it and did something," Hahnert said. "Fires don't start by themselves."
Hahnert said he's had trouble with kids going back to the house, which was on a trail behind his own home, but there's never been any vandalism.
The house was furnished with appliances, tables and couches, Hahnert said.
The fire also burned grass to the northeast of the house and slightly damaged a nearby car. However, no nearby trees were burned.
"What I was worrying about was the fire running," Hahnert said. "If it had been last summer, the fire would have took right off."
Standing by at the scene were North Ambulance and the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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