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House fire a ‘total loss’ for family
January 10, 2020

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A Rugby family was left homeless after a fire swept through their home on Second Street Northwest late Monday evening.

Rugby resident Tara Dupuis said she was in the home along with her boyfriend, mother and four children when the fire started at approximately 11:30 p.m.

Dupuis told the Tribune her boyfriend, Kris Broe, noticed smoke smell coming from the home's laundry room.

"I thought it was the dryer because I had just put some laundry in," Dupuis said. "When (Broe) opened the dryer, he saw (the smoke's source) wasn't there. He noticed smoke was coming from the garage. He opened the door (to the garage), closed it and told me to call 911 and get everybody out."

Rugby Volunteer Fire Department Chief David Schneibel said of the fire damage, "The structure and property will be a total loss."

Rugby firefighters, police and ambulance crew all responded to the blaze. No one in the home was injured.

Schneibel said, "We had the fire knocked out by 1:30 a.m., and we were on scene until 3 a.m."

Dupuis said she and her family are staying at Rugby's Northern Lights Inn. "We have someone who offered their rental to us for free for three months," she added. "We should be moving there hopefully within a week."

Dupuis, who works for Envision at the company's Highway 2 convenience store, said her two oldest children attend preschool and elementary school. Her younger children are ages nine months and two years.

The Envision convenience store on Highway 2 and I Design in downtown Rugby are taking donations for Dupuis' family. A benefit account has also been set up under Dupuis' name at North Star Community Credit Union.*

Family friend Catherine Gardner posted a message on social media stating the family needs "everything" and clothing, particularly in children's sizes "12-18mths boy, 24mth-2t girl, 4-5 boy, and size 8 boy."

The cause of the blaze is under investigation by the North Dakota Fire Marshal's office.

* CORRECTIONS & CLARIFICATIONS: In the story headlined "House fire a 'total loss' for family," the Tribune referred to the resident interviewed for the story as "Tara Dupuis." Tara is now known as Tara Johnson. Donations for Johnson's family are being taken at Envision convenience store on U.S. Highway 2 and I Design. An account under Tara Johnson's name has been opened at North Star Community Credit Union for donations as well.

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