Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Man burned, wife dies in Boissevain blaze

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A house fire early Tuesday claimed the life of a senior and left her husband in hospital with serious burns.

IAN HITCHEN / BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

A house fire early Tuesday claimed the life of a senior and left her husband in hospital with serious burns.

BOISSEVAIN -- Residents are praying for the family of a woman who was killed in a house fire and for the recovery of her husband -- a retired minister who was badly burned in the blaze.

Firefighters were called to the blaze early Tuesday morning in the town about 70 kilometres south of Brandon.

Dorothy Whetter, a neighbour of the couple, said phone lines were buzzing as citizens asked each other what they could do to help.

"The community will rally for whatever is needed," Whetter said.

"They need their time to grieve."

Neighbours and family identified the deceased as Martha Kroeker, who was in her late 70s. Her husband, Wally Kroeker, who is about 80, escaped the burning house and was taken to hospital with serious burns.

Whetter said Kroeker was seriously burned by the fire.

He was taken to hospital in Killarney, transferred to Brandon and then sent to hospital in Winnipeg.

Boissevain-Morton Fire Department Chief Martin Paradis said firefighters were called to the house around 1:50 a.m. Tuesday.

Firefighters tried to get into the home to rescue Martha but were unable. "We tried our best to get in," Paradis said.

RCMP and firefighters found Martha's body inside the burned home.

No cause for the fire has been determined yet.

Police say there's nothing to suggest the fire is suspicious.

A woman next door to the burned home who identified herself as the Kroekers' daughter said her father remained in hospital.

"We would appreciate prayers for his health," said the woman, who declined to give her name. "The family is holding up but, well, he's not out of the woods yet."

Whetter said Kroeker went to his daughter's house after he escaped his burning home in the belief his wife was right behind him.

 

-- Brandon Sun

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 26, 2014 A3

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Updated on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 8:51 AM CST: replaces photo

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