HASTINGS, Minn. — A dog belonging to a Hastings family is credited for alerting them to a fire brewing in a downstairs duplex Friday night.
“I got a call about a quarter after 12 from my wife who said the house was on fire,” Keith Garrick said. “Fortunately I was in Red Wing, so I drove back up to Hastings and by the time I got to Smead's I could see the flames through the trees.”
Garrick said his dog Reeses woke everyone up in time to get out before the blaze consumed the front of the house.
“Unfortunately the wind was blowing the smoke away from the house, so it never came up into our section and set off the smoke detectors,” he said. “Our dog freaked out for some strange reason in the middle of the night and woke everyone up. When my wife got out of bed she saw flames by the kitchen window.”
Garrick’s wife hurried to his still-sleeping daughter's bedroom and saw flames right outside her window as well. She woke her, Garrick’s son and grandchildren up and got them all out in time.
“They had just enough time to get out before the flames broke through the floor in the living room and the floor collapsed,” Garrick said. “They got out in their jammies. No socks. No shoes. Just jammies. Everyone got out.”
The Hastings Fire Department received the call just after midnight and by the time Garrick arrived at the house, they had already arrived and started to put out the flames.
“They were well underway when I got there,” Garrick said.
The source of the fire was determined to have started in the downstairs porch, which was occupied by Jennifer Reinardy. She was also able to escape the burning house safely, but her two dogs died in the fire. Those dogs were credited for helping her and keeping her company while she battled stage 4 colon cancer.
Due to the older construction of the house, firefighters took longer to put out the flames since it would reignite soon after they stopped watering. The cause is currently under investigation by the Hastings Fire Department at this time.
In the meantime, both families have been displaced. Garrick’s family has been placed in a nearby hotel courtesy of the Red Cross.
“Between the Red Cross and our renters insurance, we have till Dec. 31st here if need be,” he said.
GoFundMe’s have been started to help raise money to help both Reinardy and Garrick’s family get back on their feet. Reinardy’s GoFundMe has already raised over $9,000, while the GoFundMe for the Garrick family has just over $5,000 raised.