Two Dead in House Fire Near Bemidji, MN - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Update: Two Dead in House Fire Near Bemidji, MN

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   A mother and son have died in a house fire near Bemidji.

   Seventy-nine year old Phyllis Kleeb and her 56-year old son, Frank Kleeb, died in their home, 5-miles south of Bemidji Tuesday night .

   Next door neighbor, Jolaine  Boreen says, she called 9-1-1 at 7:30 Tuesday night, when she saw flames coming from the back porch of this home.

  Boreen says she was shocked to learn her neighbor, and her neighbor's son, a retired military man had perished in the fire.

Reporter: "You were shocked somebody died?"

Jolaine Boreen, Victim's Neighbor: "Oh, my yeah."

Reporter: "It seems like they could have gotten out?"

Boreen: "Well, you don't really know. But, yeah… through the basement or something."

  At this point, the exact cause of the fire has not been determined. Also, it has not been determined if anything happened to the victims, before the fire started. Autopsies are being conducted.

  Thirty-four fire fighters from 3 local departments had to battle a wind chill of 30-degrees below zero. A school bus was brought in to give them a break from the cold.

  The Bemidji Fire Chief says the home was already totally engulfed in flames, when they arrived on the scene.

David Hoefer, Bemidji Fire Chief: "We were able to do the body recoveries, after the fire was completely extinguished."

Reporter: "Can you say where they were found?"

Hoefer: "No."  

  At this point, it's still considered a crime scene, and a lot of questions will remain, until the cause of the fire and the cause of the victim's deaths are determined.

  Hubbard County Chief Deputy, Scott Parks say he expects at least preliminary autopsy results and the cause of the fire by the end of this week.



Two people have died in a house fire near Bemidji, Minnesota. Seventy-nine year-old Phyllis Kleeb and her 56-year-old son, Frank Kleeb are confirmed dead, according to a sister-in-law. Fire officials do not believe anyone else was in the home at the time of the fire.

The fire was reported around 7:30 Tuesday night at a home on Beltrami Line Road in Helga Township.

Bemidji, Cass Lake, and Lakeport Fire Departments, along with Bemidji Ambulance, Lakeport First Response, Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, Beltrami County Emergency Management, State Fire Marshall, and the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office all responded to the incident.

Fire officials say the home was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived.  Firefighters found the bodies of the two victims after they put out the flames.

Besides fighting the fire, crews had to battle dangerously cold temperatures.  A school bus was brought in so firefighters would have a warm place to take a break.

Names of the victims are not being released yet. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office and the State Fire Marshall.

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