The St. Paul Fire Department said crews were called to a scene at about 10:23 p.m. in the 1000 block of Arundel Street in the North End neighborhood, right in front of John Miller's home, "I heard the noise and looked out the window and saw flames, I came outside and it was bad, the camper went up quick."
The commotion brought other neighbors outside to do what they could to help, including one who didn't want to be identified, "I could feel the heat from the flames while on the corner."
The motorhome was fully engulfed, with heavy smoke and flames coming from the front half of the vehicle. A witness said she heard what she thought was gunfire, but the male driver of the RV said he'd recently had problems with the engine and it backfired.
Residents said the man was hurt and barely got out in time, "he was hysterical on the ground sobbing, not knowing what to do, he was panicking, another neighbor tried to console him."
Emergency crews extinguished the flames and searched the RV. The department said one person was found dead inside. The male driver was taken to a hospital.
The cause of the fire is under investigation by the State Fire Marshall and the St. Paul Police Department. A spokesman for the St. Paul Fire Department said the camper was being driven at the time from one location to another. Early indications are that the engine accidentally started on fire due to a mechanical failure.
The Ramsey County Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy and will release the victim's ID, cause and manner of death likely on Monday.
Authorities said it's the third fire fatality in St. Paul this year.
KSTP & Beth McDonough
Updated: October 27, 2019 10:20 PM
Published: October 27, 2019 12:00 AM
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