Birthday party ends in house fire

Fire destroys Ely area home

SMOLDERING RUINS of the home owned by Al and Margo Penke after it twice caught fire and burned to the ground. The couple owns Boundary Waters Labradors, a breeding operation. Photo by Brad Ruoho.

by Nick Wognum
The loss of a home to fire is one thing, but what an Ely couple have endured this past week borders on being a Greek tragedy.
Sunday afternoon the Penke family gathered at the home of Al and Margo at a house on Blueberry Road.
The occasion was Margo’s 60th birthday..... Read the complete article and the ways you can help in this week's Ely Echo. Or start an email subscription today and get the complete Ely Echo every Friday morning. $30 per year sent anywhere in the world via email.

Homeowners Al and Margo Penke were able to get out safely before their home was consumed.
According to Morse-Fall Lake Fire Chief Ted Krueger the blaze started as a chimney fire that quickly got up into the roof.
“There were multiple layers in the roof and the building had been added on to several times,” said Krueger.
Bitter cold conditions with temps reaching -10 made for tough work for four area fire departments.
Morse-Fall Lake, Ely, Babbitt and Embarrass fire departments responded to the fire along with the Ely Ambulance Service.
“The home is a total loss. We poured 40,000 gallons of water on it and everything turned to ice,” said Krueger.
The home was located on the Blueberry Road.