Man killed in Brainerd fire was a former Marine, had health problems

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An office and apartment building in Brainerd was destroyed by fire, killing a man reported to be a Marine veteran with health problems.

Around 40 firefighters were called to the building at 402 Front St. at 3 a.m. Tuesday, and two crews entered to fight it but were turned back from the second floor because the flames were too strong.

The Brainerd Dispatch reports that the building has a law office on the ground floor and two apartments above it, and that one of the tenants from the upper apartments managed to escape the blaze.

#BreakingNews 1 dead after early morning #Fire in #Brainerd today. More tonight on #LakelandNewspic.twitter.com/01XgZh7Cp2

Attorney Dennis Lothspeich, co-owner of the building and landlord to the two renters, told the newspaper that the man who died had been honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, lived there with his black poodle, was in poor health and "was not very mobile."

Lothspeich also told KSTP that the victim had been renting a two-bedroom apartment from him for 10 to 15 years.

He added that it wasn't the first time his building had been burned down as a previous office of his was firebombed – but he said that on this occasion, the firefighters had managed to rescue much of his business's files and computer hardware.

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