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One dead in Rice Lake house fire

One person is confirmed dead after fire destroyed a house along Rice Lake Road this morning. According to St. Louis County Sheriff's Sgt. Todd Abernethy, a 56-year-old woman is dead. By early afternoon the fire at 4758 Rice Lake Road had been ext...

One person is confirmed dead after fire destroyed a house along Rice Lake Road this morning.

According to St. Louis County Sheriff's Sgt. Todd Abernethy, a 56-year-old woman is dead. By early afternoon the fire at 4758 Rice Lake Road had been extinguished.

According to public records, Sandra J. McClelland, 56, lived in the home.

Firefighters set up tarps near the house at least twice to block the view as they attempted to bring the woman's body out, but had to take them down as flames picked up.

A passerby reported the fire around 6:45 a.m. Firefighters from at least five departments -- Rice Lake, Canosia, Grand Lake, Lakewood and the 148th Fighter Wing -- are on the scene.

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Another passerby said intense flames were visible inside the older, two-story house about 6:40 a.m. One man was visible on the property, running around outside the house.

Minnesota Power was at the scene early on to cut power to the home.

The state fire marshal, medical examiner and county arson investigators were expected on the scene this afternoon, although there had been no determination that the fire's cause was suspicious.

Shortly after 10 a.m., a backhoe was at the scene, tearing away portions of the north side of the home to give firefighters access to douse hot spots.

The Duluth News Tribune and the Grand Forks Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.

Related Topics: RICE LAKE
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