Homeowner uses aerial lift to decorate tree, causes fire after hitting power line

A homeowner's aerial lift used for reaching a tall tree struck a power line, causing a fire
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A Stearns County homeowner was using an aerial lift to decorate an outdoor tree with Christmas lights Sunday when he struck a power line, causing a fire.

The fire was reported around 5 p.m. near 38922 County Rd. 1 in Brockway Township. Neighbors worked alongside deputies with fire extinguishers, according to a press release from the Stearns County Sheriff's Office.

The fire was contained to the bottom of the lift, Stearns County Sheriff's Office Captain Jon Lentz said, adding that he suspects the electricity from the power line shot through the lift's arm and into the motorized portion of the vehicle. Parts of the tire were on fire, he said. The machine was parked on pavement, which may have helped in containing it. 

"That’s a pretty big, sophisticated lift," he said.  

Xcel Energy personnel turned off the power and untangled the line from the lift while firefighters from St. Stephen and Sartell rescued two people from the lift cab, which was 30 feet in the air. 

A Mayo Ambulance also responded to the scene and found that no injuries were incurred. 

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