Victims identified in fatal house fire in rural Wadena

A juvenile also on scene was injured but was able to escape the fire.

Michael and Paula Black, of rural Wadena, were the victims of a house fire Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021. Contributed photo
We are part of The Trust Project.

WADENA, Minn. — Authorities have identified the two victims of a fatal house fire Sunday, Aug. 1, in Wadena Township.

Spouses Michael, 46, and Paula Black, 42, were killed in the fire at 111th Avenue, according to news release from the Wadena County Sheriff's Office. The victims have four children. A 13-year-old was burned from the fire, but survived.

Emergency responders were dispatched to the fire at 3:50 a.m. Sunday, according to the sheriff's release. When they arrived, emergency personnel found the couple's son outside with minor burns. The home was engulfed by flames, according to the Wadena Fire Department.

Inside, firefighters found two adults. Life-saving efforts were unsuccessful and the victims, Michael and Paula Black, were pronounced deceased at the scene. The juvenile was transported to Tri-County Health Care for treatment of his injuries and was released a short time later, according to the release.

The victims were transported by Karvonen Funeral Home to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy. Funeral arrangements are pending with Karvonen Funeral Home in Wadena.


The fire remains under investigation by the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office, Wadena Fire Department, and State Fire Marshal’s Office.

The remains of a home off 111th Ave. in Wadena Township show the damage brought by a fire Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

What to read next
Students who knew Philando Castile say his killing inspired them to pursue activism
Minneapolis event aims to celebrate and educate
Police have been searching for Elle Ragin, 6, since her mother, Lisa Wade, 39, was found dead of an apparent suicide on July 2 in her Northfield home.
Lawmakers that helped push the new rule through the Minnesota Capitol said they were working on fixes around enforcement, next steps to fully legalize marijuana for adult use.