A multimillion-dollar home under construction became engulfed in flames on Lake Minnetonka’s northeastern shore and burned for more than half a day, authorities said.
Wayzata Fire Chief Kevin Klapprich said Thursday morning that one truck was “on scene monitoring the fire in the basement … to make sure it goes nowhere.”
The unoccupied property at 2750 Gale Road, on Breezy Point in Woodland, caught fire about 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Klapprich said. Soon after, one firefighter reported “a large explosion” as flames overwhelmed the structure, according to emergency dispatch audio.
No injuries were reported, and authorities have yet to give a preliminary indication of how the fire started.
Property owner Jon Davis told the Star Tribune that the lingering flames were extinguished by early Thursday afternoon, “as much as I can tell.”
Davis, a member of one of Minnesota’s wealthiest families, added that “the firefighters [Wednesday] night were unbelievable, especially in the frigid conditions and without a lot of resources to fight the fire. No one was hurt, and that’s what’s most important. Everything else is just ‘stuff.’ ”
A mansion that was on the 2.6-acre property that offers more than 300 feet of shoreline was leveled. The tract sold in September 2017 for $5.4 million, according to Hennepin County records.
Davis’ family made Forbes magazine’s 2014 list of the richest in the United States, with a net worth of $1.7 billion.
Davis lives elsewhere on Lake Minnetonka and was until about a year ago the CEO of Davisco Foods International, a food-making business based in Le Sueur, Minn.
His brothers Marty and Mitch Davis owned Twin Cities-based Sun Country Airlines before selling it in 2017. Marty Davis now runs the Cambria countertop company, which is headquartered in Le Sueur.
The fire chief said there were “no hydrants in the area, [and] water had to be hauled into the scene” by tanker fire trucks from neighboring communities.
Klapprich said he was “very proud of all” the firefighters who responded and stayed at the scene amid biting cold and strong winds.
“Conditions were not fun,” he said. “The wind helped the fire build. [It was] not easy for the crews with temps like that to work; very hard to keep things from freezing.”
At least one other home was under construction in the immediate area, and many work vehicles were at the burning property, firefighters said. The one-story home being built was already “fully involved” with flames when they arrived, according to the dispatch audio.
Firefighters were rotated in and out of shelter to allow them to warm up and rest through the night.
The fire, on the shore of Breezy Point near Browns and Wayzata bays, was so large that flames could be seen from the other end of the lake. Smoke from the blaze was showing up on weather radar.