A house fire in Red Wing Sunday morning claimed the life of a 25-year-old man.
Red Wing Fire Department was sent to the 1200 block of Phelps Street at 8:19 a.m., and as they arrived at the scene they were alerted by neighbors that a person was still inside the burning home.
Firefighters began "an aggressive interior operation" while also searching the home, minutes later finding a victim on the first floor. Paramedics rendered aid and transported to the 25-year-old man to Red Wing-Mayo Clinic Health System where he was pronounced dead.
The victim has been identified Ocean Christofferson.
“Sadly, today the City of Red Wing has encountered our first fatality fire in many years. The loss of a life is tragic and we are saddened to lose one of our community members and neighbor,” said Red Wing Fire Chief Shannon Draper, according to FOX 47. “I am proud of the quick efforts of our firefighters and paramedics our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.”
Christofferson is the son of Darwin Christofferson, a Navy veteran and commander of the local American Legion. He and his son also worked at Liberty's Restaurant & Lounge in Red Wing.
"Darwin Christofferson started working at Liberty's in 1986," the restaurant's Facebook page says in a tribute to the family. "The morning of November 10th his house caught fire with his son, Ocean inside. Sadly Ocean, 25, didn't make it. Ocean worked at Liberty's since he was 16 years old. Darwin and Ocean are part of our Liberty's family. Ocean will be forever missed."
According to KSTP, Darwin Christofferson served in the Navy for three decades and an American flag was placed in the front of his home on Sunday afternoon.
"Our deepest sympathy to Commander Christofferson and his family," American Legion Post #54 wrote on Facebook. "We would ask everyone to please say a prayer for the Commander and his family at this difficult time."
A GoFundMe has been launched and so far has raised more than $5,000 of a $15,000 goal. All money will help pay for funeral expenses and help Darwin Christofferson rebuild.
The State Fire Marshal and Red Wing Police Department are investigating the cause of the fire.