What started as a deck fire quickly spread overnight as wind carried flames to a neighbor's home in Mahtomedi. Two million-dollar lake homes were destroyed and another damaged early Friday morning.
Mahtomedi Fire Chief Terry Fischer said the owners of the first home that caught fire were out of town, so the cause of the fire remains a mystery. Strong winds fueled the fire and spread flames to trees and the neighboring homes.
"It looked like a forest fire blowing across when we first got here," Chief Fischer said. "We had numerous trees with burning embers when we got here. It was a tricky fire."
Someone across White Bear Lake reported the fire, and responding police officers witnesses the spread of fire from the deck to the home. Police were able to wake up the neighbors of the home that caught fire next door, getting everyone out safely.