Shortly after 1 a.m., Russell Keyt contacted 911 dispatchers at the Clay County Justice Center to report his home was on fire.
Upon arrival at 13191 N. Lena Road, Van Buren Volunteer Fire Chief Pete Taylor said the trailer was fully engulfed with flames. Because there are no water hydrants in the rural area, Taylor requested that Jackson and Dick Johnson Township volunteer fire departments provide water tanker assistance.
"We had four tankers running back and forth from Van Buren Elementary to ensure we had plenty of water," Taylor said about the fire which gutted two connecting house trailers. "The biggest problem we had was the 25-30 mph winds and freezing temperatures."
Taylor said fire hoses were constantly freezing, and when connected to the water tankers they needed to be heated to remove them each time they were moved to another tanker.
"It really made fighting the fire very difficult," Taylor said. "It was just miserable."
Taylor said he spoke briefly with Keyt after the fire. Keyt reported the wall behind a wood burner was on fire when he left the trailer, which is why officials believe a problem with the wood burner caused the fire.
"He lost everything in the fire," Taylor said, adding he didn't know if Keyt had insurance on the home. "I have yet to talk anymore with (Keyt) today, but I believe he is staying with family members."