Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Police tape sealed off this property on East Main Street in Blooming Prairie early Tuesday morning, Jan. 1, New Year's Day. The Blooming Prairie Fire Department was summoned to a residence just east of Blooming Prairie at 3:30 a.m. The home owner, Kenneth Zylstra, was not home at the time.

New Year’s Day fire burns house to ground in BP

Man fighting cancer now has no home

A man facing several medical problems is now staring at another challenge—finding a new place to live.

Ken Zylstra of Blooming Prairie has lost everything after fire swept through his residence early on New Year’s Day. Twenty-four Blooming Prairie firefighters, assisted by firemen from Ellendale and Hayfield, fought the blaze on East Main Street near Arkema.

The two-story house was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived at the scene after receiving a 911 call at 3:30 a.m. 

Blooming Prairie Fire Chief Dean Naatz said the home, owned by Ken Zylstra, was destroyed. He was not at home at the time of the fire.

A home and a garage next door was also damaged to the sum of about $10,000, Chief Naatz said. Occupants of the home (names unavailable) were raised and removed from the house next door, Naatz reported.

A semi truck, parked on the Zylstra property, appeared to suffer no damage. 

Zylstra has been fighting colon and liver cancer, which has left him with medical bills and time away from his job. He is a truck driver. 

A gofundme campaign has been started to assist Zylstra with getting back on his feet. As of Sunday night, $1,910 had been raised of the $10,000 goal. 

According to the gofundme posting, Zylstra had no home insurance because he couldn’t afford it after battling the medical issues. “He lost everything,” the posting read. “Ken is such a happy, loving, giving person who never hesitates to help others. Let’s reach out in this new year and help him through this difficult time.”

The funds raised will go to help Zylstra with costs of clean up, clothes, food and housing. 

“Anything will help, it’s going to be a tough few months ahead for Ken,” the gofundme posting said. 

Anyone interested in contributing to help Zylstra can do so by reaching out to www.gofundme.com/ken-zylstra-house-fire.

In addition to the BP Fire Department and the departments from Ellendale and Hayfield, the Blooming Prairie Ambulance Service, Steele County Sheriff's Office and the Blooming Prairie Police Department were on the scene.

The State Fire Marshal is investigating the blaze.

See full story in this week’s print edition or subscribe online. Please subscribe here or current subscribers can login here.

Steele County Times & DCI

Steele County Times
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Dodge County Independent
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944


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