ST. JOSEPH -- Firefighters were on the scene of a house fire north of St. Joseph at about 9:45 a.m. today (Thursday).

Stearns County Chief Deputy Sheriff Bruce Bechtold says they received a call that a dump truck had hit a power pole and the power lines were down.

When deputies arrived they found the power line fell on top of a truck. 77-year-old Ralph Eiynck, of St. Joseph, was inside the truck when the pole fell. He was trapped inside until power was disconnected.

Sheriff's officials say a 2004 International dump truck from Schroder Inc, driven by 65-year-old Ralph Schroden, had been dumping a load of soil in front of the house. As he was pulling away, the box caught the power lines causing the pole to break and fall onto Eiynck's truck.

St. Joseph Fire Chief, Jeff Taufen says the fallen power pole also sparked a fire nearby house at 8988 320th Street, just off a Stearns County Road 2. The home belongs to 33-year-old Jennifer Warnert, of St. Joseph.

Firefighters put out the blaze on the outside of the house and then discovered the basement was also on fire. Crews contained the flames but the home is considered unlivable.

Eiynck was taken to St. Cloud Hospital, however no one was injured in the blaze.


Crews battle St. Joseph house fire. (Rebecca David, WJON)