Fires Hit Rock County Villages in Two States
Here’s one for Ripley:  Two fires were reported in Rock county today, but one was in Rock county, Minnesota, and another in Rock county, Wisconsin. Both occurred in small villages, Hills in Minnesota, and Lima Center in Wisconsin, and damage estimates in both were $75,000.

Hills, Minn.—(AP)—Fire of uncertain origin razed a half-block of business buildings in this Rock county village early today as fire departments from three towns fought vainly in eight-below zero weather.

Less to six buildings destroyed in the blaze, which was discovered at 2 a.m., was estimated at about $75,000 and four families including 23 persons are homeless.

Cries from a baby, less than a year old, probably saved the tenants on the second floor of the buildings from injuries as the father, Joe Kaska, was awakened to find the family’s living quarters filled with smoke. He ran to the fire station to give the alarm to which the Hills volunteer fire department responded in 10 minutes. Fire fighters from Lester, Iowa, and Luverne, Minn., arrived some time later.

Business places destroyed in the fire, which was visible for a distance of more than 10 miles are:  Henry’s Grocery Store and warehouse, over which Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Lutjens and four children lived; Bert Berghorst farm custom work headquarters, tenanted by Mr. and Mrs. Joe Kaska and four children; G. S. Ingvalson, a jewelry store in which he lived at the rear, with upstairs quarters occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Sevatson and three children; Rudd’s grocery store in which Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Ruud and three children lived.

Contents in the stores were almost a total loss. Considerable damage also was done to buildings across the street by the intensity of the fire which broken numerous windows.

Source: Winona Republican Herald, January 14, 1948

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