Ely home burns in fire

by Tom Coombe
An Ely house was destroyed by fire Thursday afternoon.
Shortly after noon, fire crews were dispatched to the Central Avenue home owned by Paul Starkovich.
Thick smoke billowed out of the top of the structure and the rear erupted in flames.
Starkovich was inside at the time with a friend and two dogs and all were able to escape the home, located across the avenue from the Ely Area Credit Union, near the intersection of Central and West Chapman Street.
Starkovich was taken to Ely-Bloomenson Community hospital and later released.
The home appeared to be a total loss.
The Ely fire department responded to the blaze within minutes and fire crews were still on the scene several hours later.
The cause of the fire was not clear, as of deadline.
Tom Erchull, Ely’s fire chief, was still on the scene at the time of the Echo’s deadline and not immediately available for comment.
Also responding to the call were Morse-Fall Lake and Babbitt fire departments, Ely police department and Ely Area Ambulance Service.
Power was shut off for several hours in a several block area near the house, according to a post on the city of Ely’s Facebook page.
Internet service to homes and businesses near the structure was also knocked out around the time of the fire.
The home is one of Ely’s oldest, reportedly originally built as a boarding house in the 1890s.