September 26, 2023


ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — Rochester firefighters rescued a man from an apartment at a group residential housing facility early Sunday morning. Investigators said that man is OK, but is now left homeless after the fire destroyed his home.

The fire broke out about 4:15 a.m. Sunday at the Reza House at 1623 4th St. NW. Rochester Fire Department Deputy Chief Vance Swisher said firefighters found a man on the roof signaling for help. Firefighters used a ladder to rescue that man, while other residents went into the building to extinguish the fire. The entire building was evacuated, and residents were not allowed to return until at least Sunday afternoon.

Swisher said the fire caused an estimated $30,000 to $40,000 including heavy smoke damage to the second floor and water damage to the first floor.

“Fire marshals are investigating that, trying to identify what the cause of the fire was. They were able to identify the area of the origin. Part of that will also be discussing the situation with the individual that was residing in that room to see if we can piece together what happened and why this fire occurred,” said Swisher.

Red Cross is assisting the man who lost his apartment.

No one was hurt in the fire.

Olmsted County Community Services Director Paul Fleissner said Reza House provides room and board for people who have a physical or mental health disability or chemical dependency. Room and board payments are funded via Department of Human Services’ Group Residential Housing funds and/or resident’s personal funds.

“Reza House has played a crucial role in providing housing to those with mental illness and/or chemical dependency issues,” Fleissner said in a statement. “They have provided housing to those who are unable to find alternate housing and/or live on their own due to their disability.”

Fleissner said the Reza House first received its first board and lodge license as well as Group Residential Housing agreement in July, 2009. He said the facility had proactively maintained its contract and board and lodge license since that time.

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