New Year's Eve fire

Crews work to extinguish the house fire in Holden Township on New Year’s Eve. On Thursday, the Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s Office positively identified the individual found in a burned car outside the residence as Cory Lee Cassidy, of Dodge Center. (Photo courtesy of Janet Stevens Fino)

Goodhue County officials are waiting for a medical examiner to positively identify human remains discovered in a burned-out vehicle found near the garage area of the home that burned Thursday evening.

The Kenyon Fire Department was called to a structure fire in the 45000 block of Hwy. 56 Blvd. in Holden Township north of town about 6:14 p.m. The home’s owners and all who lived there have been accounted for, according to a release from Goodhue County Sheriff Marty Kelly.

An autopsy is being performed by Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s Office to positively identify the deceased.

Although the house has been deemed inhabitable and was damaged extensively, Kenyon Fire Chief Lee Skillestad said residents were able to recover some belongings on the south end of the home. Though the home’s roof collapsed, the plaster above the sheetrock covered the photos and valuables, allowing for many pictures to be saved.

Three vehicles were inside of the garage. Four vehicles were completely damaged, including the vehicle outside the home, which sat outside the garage but near the home, according to Skillestad.

Skillestad estimates nearly 30,000 gallons of water were used to extinguish the fire that engulfed the structure. The Kenyon Fire Department crew returned to the Fire Hall around midnight, after about five hours on scene. Skillestad said crews had to return again the following afternoon to stamp out a couple of flare-ups, but they haven’t had to return since. Fire investigators entered the scene that morning and the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Department stayed at the scene through the night. Skillestad said that’s standard procedure when there’s a house fire, to make sure no flare-ups arise after crews leave the scene.

The cause of the fire has not been determined and remains under investigation by Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s Office and Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office. The Kenyon Fire Department, assisted by Wanamingo Fire Department, responded along with Kenyon Police Department and Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s investigators are working to determine the identity of the person in the vehicle and how that individual died.

Reach reporter Michelle Vlasak at 507-333-3128 or follow her on Twitter @apgmichelle. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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