Family member speaks about deadly St. Anthony Park neighborhood fire

Family member speaks out after deadly St. Anthony Park house fire

Family member speaks out after deadly St. Anthony Park house fire

A family is grieving after a woman died and a man was hurt in an overnight St. Paul house fire. 

It began just before midnight on Buford Avenue in the city’s St. Anthony Park neighborhood. Fire officials say two dogs also died in the fire. 

Dennis Ruud says the now charred home belonged to his brother, Tom Ruud, and his wife, Sylvia Ruud. He says the elderly couple lived in the home for over three decades.

On Thursday morning, Ruud searched around the home to see if he was able to get in to grab his brother’s contacts and glasses. 

“You can’t see anything in there but that mess in the front lawn was kind of interesting, the was a pile of burning books,” said Ruud.

Ruud says Tom, who is in his late 70s is currently in the hospital with severe burns in his hands. Tom is expected to survive, according to Ruud. 

The overnight fire took the life of Tom’s wife, Sylvia, and their two dogs. Ruud says the three of them were very close. 

“She was a very intelligent person,” said Ruud. “She was really interested in cooking and a beautiful person.”

Fire officials say just before midnight a 911 caller stated they heard a person yelling for help. When the police got on scene, they found one resident outside and were told someone was still inside. After fire crews took out the flames, they found a person dead in the home. 

“It’s really hard on our folks when we have these calls. It’s a tremendous load on them,” said St. Paul Assistant Fire Chief Steve Sampson.

Sampson called it a “heavy year” as this latest fire marks the city’s sixth fire fatality which is double what the city typically gets in an entire year.

“It’s another hit for our department unfortunately in such a short amount of time for this calendar year, specifically,” said Sampson. 

The last time the city had six fire fatalities was back in 2017 and the most recorded in 30 years was seven fatalities in 1994. 

Fire officials are urging residents to have an evacuation plan and to equip their homes with fire safety equipment. 

St. Paul Fire is also encouraging families to sign up for Project Safe Haven. With the free program, you will be able to obtain free smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and StoveTop Fire Stops. The program was created to help ensure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.