Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Fire Leaves One Dead

A tragic fire in a mobile home, caused perhaps by a wood burning furnace, resulted in the death of a New Richmond man early last Thursday morning, November 29.

According to St. Croix County Sheriff Dennis Hillstead, Jeff Geurkink, 49, of New Richmond, died as a result of the fire. His mobile home was located at 1722 CTH G, or about three quarters of a mile west of the intersection of G with CTH T, in the Town of Erin Prairie. Geurkink was a dairy farmer.

Sheriff Hillstead said the fire call for the mobile home in which Geurkink lived came in about 4:09 a.m. on November 29. He said two men who typically travel CTH G every morning on the way to work and are familiar with the road and many residences along it, saw the fire in the mobile home and pulled into the driveway. One left the vehicle and banged on the door of the mobile home trying to rouse any residents who might be inside, but without success. Sheriff Hillstead said the other man in the vehicle called 911 on his cell phone.

Sheriff Hillstead said that preliminary autopsy results indicate carbon monoxide poisioning due to smoke inhalation was the cause of Geurkink's death.

After the investigation into the cause of the blaze, it appears that a wood stove may be the culprit, said Sheriff Hillstead. He noted that there was an addition attached to the mobile home and the majority of the fire appears to have ocurred there.

A memorial service for Geurkink was held Tuesday at the United Methodist Church in New Richmond. He is survived by two children, Burt and Hailey Geurkink, both of Somerset; two sisters; five brothers and many nieces and nephews.

He is preceeded in death by his parents, Wes and Amy (Snoyenbos) Geurkink. His parents were both graduates of Baldwin High School with the class of 1938 and Jeff has many other, more distant, relatives in the Baldwin area.