Family escapes home fire

With smoke still coming from the embers, little remained of the house between Montgomery and Kilkenny that burned on Wednesday, Dec. 4. Thankfully, the occupants and their pets escaped the blaze unharmed. (Wade Young Photo)

A family of five, their friend and their pets escaped a devastating house fire, between Montgomery and Kilkenny, on Wednesday night, December 4. 


According to Le Sueur County Sheriff’s Department, the home where Shannon Doerfler and Nicholas Johnston, their three young sons, and Justin Peiper lived had started on fire.  Le Sueur County Deputies, the Kilkenny Fire Department and the Montgomery Ambulance responded, and upon arrival they found a residence to be fully engulfed in flames. The Kilkenny Fire Department also requested mutual aid from the Le Center and Montgomery Fire Departments. 


The fire destroyed the home, making it unlivable. 


The blaze left the family with nothing, but the clothes on their backs. The Red Cross was called in to help on Thursday morning. According to Bob Meyer, Executive Director and Chief Development Officer for South Central Minnesota, the Red Cross assisted with food, clothing, temporary shelter, and medical needs. 


“It is tough to see this type of thing happen, especially during the holidays,” he said. “I am thankful our volunteer staff could help out with what the family needed.”


The Minnesota State Fire Marshall, who is routinely requested for assistance, determined that the fire started as a result of a wood stove chimney fire. 


Doerfler’s mother, Michele Kahl, said everyone lost everything, and are in need of donations of cash, gift cards, clothing, toiletries, Christmas presents, dog food, cat food, shoes, toys, household items.


For more on the fire and how to help the family, pick up next week’s print edition.