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Garage fire on Second Street

While they do not know why anyone would target their one-stall garage in southwest Wadena, Joe and Michelle Keith suspect a Wednesday evening fire was set on purpose.

"We think somebody started it," Joe said. "There's no other explanation. God didn't come down and set it."

Michelle, Joe's wife, agrees.

"There was a can of kerosene by the backyard," she said.

Michelle added that she is thankful the couple was able to get their five children out of the house. She also said it was her kids who first noticed the fire, which started at around 8 p.m.

"We would have been oblivious to (the fire)," Joe said.

Firefighters from Wadena and Verndale, along with members of the Wadena County Sheriff's Department and Wadena Police Department, worked together to douse the high-flying flames and keep neighbors at a safe distance Wednesday, while Michelle and her family stood on the sidewalk in front of their charred garage.

As Michelle lifted an asthma inhaler to her mouth, she said it was lucky two unknown patrons were at the scene to help the family out.

"I don't know where they came from," she said, adding that before the two Samaritans disappeared, they manned a fire extinguisher until authorities arrived.

Jason Wright, first assistant fire chief for the WFD, said he does not know what officially caused the fire.