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Verndale fire has occupants moving from home to home

Deserre Anderson and her daughter, Jaycee, have spent the last 10 days moving from place to place after fire destroyed the trailer home they were renting in Verndale.

The Andersons had lived in Verndale for just eight days before the fire which forced them from their home broke out around midnight on Dec. 18. Anderson was preparing to fry mozzarella sticks and was heating some grease. She had the oven set on "simmer." She left the kitchen to smoke a cigarette and was alerted to the fire by her fiance, Christopher Nelson, who heard a "ticking noise."

When Anderson realized a fire had broken out she immediately went to her daughter's bedroom, which was already full of smoke.

"I couldn't even see my daughter," Anderson said.

The stove, which Anderson said was quite old, was believed to be the source of the fire. A smoke alarm next to the stove failed to work and there was no fire extinguisher at hand, which Anderson considered unfortunate.

"We could have stopped that fire easily," Anderson said.

None of the occupants were harmed, for which Anderson is extremely grateful.

The American Red Cross saw that they had a place to live for five days and Wadena Police Chief Bruce Uselman arranged for two days at the Terry Motel. They are presently staying at the home of Anderson's mother, Patricia Hallock, in Wadena.

Anderson is a waitress and housekeeper at Wadena Inn & Grill.

The owner of the trailer is Marie Stout.