On Sunday, March 3, at 2:35 p.m., deputies with the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a motor vehicle fire at a garage off U.S. Highway 169, in rural Grand Rapids near Hill City.

The fire, which began as a motor vehicle fire, started while the reporting party, Joseph Washburn, was working on his truck, which was parked in the garage. Washburn said he was working on the fuse panel of the truck, which is located under the hood of the vehicle, when we began to smell smoke. He advised officers that, smelling the smoke, he then looked up and discovered flames in the cab area of the vehicle.

Washburn said he attempted to put the flames out with snow, but the flames increased too quickly, causing the plastic garage door to set fire. He then said he exited the garage, which belonged to his grandmother.

When deputies arrived at the scene, Washburn was being attended to by Meds One staff. According to the investigation report, deputies observed that Washburn had burns to both hands, the face, and the torso, with some appearing to be severe. He was transferred to Grand Itasca due to the burns and inhalation he received as a result of the incident.

While deputies obtained photos of the damage, the fire continued to burn, with the structure and contents appearing to be a “total loss” according to the report.

According to deputies, there does not appear to be anything suspicious regarding the fire.

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