Early Morning Fire Kills Girl, Destroys Home - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Early Morning Fire Kills Girl, Destroys Home

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Updated Story 9:30 PM

First responders tell the tale of a terrifying fire Sunday morning in Hawley MN, with an unhappy ending for one family.

A teenage girl died in that fire. Five fire departments got the call around 1:30 Sunday morning that a home was in flames and a girl trapped inside. Valley News Team's Kristi Larson was first on the scene and spent the morning there.

Neighbors said they were shocked to see the entire home on fire. A person who lived across the street told Valley News Live he was about to go to bed but heard a woman screaming for help. Then he ran outside and said it was an eery feeling to see the home quietly burning away.

"We got a call around 1:50 or 2 o'clock, saying Kristen's house was on fire, my wife's daughter." Ron Hastings says. He is Kristen Bonham's step father.

Hawley Officer Wyatt Bertram was first to the Bonham's home, because he was only a few blocks away when he got the call.

"I opened a door and it was full of smoke, and too much heat and too much smoke to enter." Officer Bertram described.

Family members told Valley News Live that Kristen said she was sleeping down in the living room with two of the children when she heard a big bang, she then noticed flames coming up from the floor. She rushed and got the two children out, it was after that she went back into the house to try and reach her 15 year old daughter Rylie who was in her room on the third floor loft.

She was unable to get onto the 3rd floor because flames blocked the doorways. She then had to climb out a window onto the roof of the garage and started yelling for help. Officers and a neighbor helped Kristen off the getting a ladder, they too couldn't get in the home.

"Every window in the building was on fire you could clearly see the roof was on fire it was fully engulfed." Hawley first responder, and Mayor Gary Johnson described.

Later in the morning Moorhead was called for it's ladder truck. Six fire departments worked on controlling the fire for several hours, and still unable to get inside because of unstable construction. Family members stood waiting for them to find 15 year old Rylie.

"Just make it through to have closure on where our missing granddaughter is, and we'll go from there." Rod says.

It wasn't until around 8:30 Sunday morning they found her body. Fire departments fought on what some say is the most destructive they've seen in years.

"It was one of the worst fires I've seen in the last 10 or 12, 15 years easily." Mayor Johnson says.

Valley News Live had the only reporter there for several hours Sunday morning. The family called Valley News Live a Sunday night saying they've already started receiving donations of food and clothes to the local church. If you'd like to help out, they'll be setting up a fund in Rylie's honor through US Bank in Fargo.

Family also told us Kristen Bonham was treated for 1st degree burns as well as smoke inhalation. Rylie was take to Ramsey County for an autopsy.

Original Story:

A 15 year-old girl is dead after being trapped on the third floor of a house fire.

Firefighters responded to a fire in Hawley, Minnesota, early Sunday morning. The call came in around 1:30 a.m. when a neighbor heard screams for help.

The neighbor came outside and saw a woman standing on the garage roof, yelling for help. At that point, the home had flames on the second floor about 15 feet high. 

The woman was rescued, however, her teenage daughter, Rylie Efterfield, was unaccounted for until search crews found her body. She was taken to Ramsey County for an autopsy.

Six departments worked to get the fire under control, which took until around 6:00 a.m.  Crews are still on scene taking care of the small embers. Investigators are waiting to enter the home until a special crew can go in because the structure is too unstable.  

The woman was taken to the hospital but has been released. She was treated for first degree burns and smoke inhalation.



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