Family of 5 lose home in Easter fire in Perham

All five family members made it out safely as flames quickly engulfed the a family's home just outside Perham, Minn., destroying everything on Easter Sunday afternoon, April 12. (Submitted photo)

No one was injured, but a family lost their home in an Easter Sunday fire just west of Perham.

The home, in the 44000 block of 400th Avenue, was engulfed in flames around 1:40 p.m. Sunday, April 12, according to a report from the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office.

The house and an outbuilding were both destroyed by the fire. None of the five family members were hurt in the fire, according to the report.

A GoFundMe page was created Sunday, April 12, to help David Hanson, 38, and his family recover from the fire. The page was set up by Hanson's sister, Jennifer Hartung, of Sartell, who said the outbuilding was a storage shed containing farm equipment and other tools. Everything in the storage shed was lost to the fire, she wrote.

As of early afternoon on Tuesday, April 14, the GoFundMe had raised nearly $3,000 of the $5,000 goal, Hartung told the Focus during a phone interview. The funds are expected to go toward rent or a new house. "They didn't have insurance on it," Hartung said.


The family also lost farm equipment to the fire, and funds could go toward replacements as well, Hartung said.

David and Hope Hanson have three boys, ages 6, 2 and 3 months, according to Hartung. While all five members of the family made it out of the fire safely, the family dog, Tatum, and two cats, Ginger and Daisy, were killed.

Also lost in the fire was a cat belonging to Hanson's father, Phil Hanson, who lost his house to a fire in March 2018, according to the GoFundMe page.

The aftermath of the fire that destroyed the Hanson family's house and storage shed on Easter Sunday, April 12. (Submitted photo)

David had moved back to the farm to help out our dad, Phil, after his house burned down, Hartung said. "Then to have this happen is totally heart wrenching. There really isn't any words to describe how they're-- its not even my house or stuff and its heart wrenching for me," she said. "I can't even imagine what they're going through."

The family was living in a trailer house, said Shirley Davidson at the ITOW Museum. The museum is collecting donations for the family.

Davidson said Hope Hanson and the children are staying with a relative until they can arrange for another place to live.


The youngest Hanson child is a baby, so the most immediate needs are items such as diapers and formula, Davidson said. The family needs clothing, coats, shoes, things for the kids, bedding, towels, personal items and kitchenware. Large items such as furniture are not needed at this time.

"I didn't expect such an immediate outpour of everybody giving clothes and other stuff," Hartung said.

"It sounds like they have plenty of clothes for everybody now," Hartung said. "As of yesterday they didn't have shoes for Hope or David, but that may have changed."

County Sheriff Administrative Lt. Keith Van Dyke said the cause of the fire was not immediately determined, but no suspicious circumstances were noted, according to Otter Tail County correspondent Tom Hintgen. The Dent, Perham, and Vergas Fire Departments and the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office responded to the fire, according to the report.

How to help

  • A GoFundMe site has been set up at .
  • Donations for items are being taken at the In Their Own Words (ITOW) Veterans Museum in Perham. Due to the COVID-19 emergency, those who have donations should call Shirley Davidson at 612-600-5616 to arrange a time to drop off items at the ITOW building.
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