UPDATED: Terrible Apartment Fire In Mora Claims Three Lives, One A Child

Thursday, December 8th, 2011 at 2:02 pm

A terrible fire broke out at an apartment complex in Mora on Thursday morning. Three people, including a 12-year old child, were killed in the blaze.

The Mora Fire Department, Kanabec County Sheriff’s Office, Ogilvie Fire Department, FirstLight Health Systems, Kanabec County First Responders and Minnesota State Patrol responded to the scene.

Kanabec County Sheriff Steve Schulz said that crews discovered “multiple victims” when they arrived to an apartment complex just after 7 a.m. in the City of Mora. Four people were evacuated, and one remains in critical condition after being airlifted to a Twin Cities area hospital.

Schulz said it was “a sad day in Kanabec County and in the City of Mora.” No victims names are being reported at this time, though it is believed that two of the victims were a single father and his child, while another victim was an adult female. The child was enrolled in the Mora public school system.

Shulz says the victims were very well known in the community, adding that he “feel(s) really bad for the families… it’s a sad day.”

Crews were notified just after 7 a.m. about the apartment fire just off Highway 65 in the 100 block of Westwood Circle. Mora Fire Chief Mike Anderson reported that smoke detectors were going off when firefighters arrived.

The Minnesota Fire Marshall has been called in to assist with the investigation of the cause of the fire.

UPDATE: The Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division says after a preliminary investigation there is no specific cause of the fire that killed Michael and Coleman Caley and Shirley Norling.

They believe it was an accidental fire that was started in the living room of apartment two, which is located on the first floor of the four-unit building. Michael and Coleman lived in apartment two.

Investigators initially said smoke alarms were working when they arrived on scene. Now, the DPS says all hardwired smoke detectors in the four apartments were inoperative at the time of the fire. The preliminary investigation also showed each apartment had a battery operated smoke detector, but three of the four were either removed or had batteries removed. Only one smoke detector may have been operational at the time of the deadly fire.



  1. Mama 12/9/11 at 8:32am

    Such a sad day for the community. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in the community, to the family of these victims, to all that were involved in the recovery of the victims and to the fire department volunteers. Please keep everyone in your thoughts and prayers. Such devestation for a small community.

  2. PineCoResident 12/9/11 at 9:22am

    I don’t know any of the victims, but when I heard this story my heart went out to all their friends & family. I am so sorry for your loss, especially around the holidays. I will be saying a prayer for you.

  3. Deb 12/12/11 at 10:50am

    So very sad for all involved. It is a reminder that we don’t know what today or tomorrow may hold for us or our loved ones. Let us live as if each day may be our last and love those we hold dear. Tomorrow is not guaranteed so make sure you are in right standing with God and remind everyone else to do the same.

  4. ashlee clough 12/12/11 at 2:45pm

    im very sorry for all who lost friends colman was my best friends brother and her dad were also lost and it is very hard!!

  5. Kendra Tauer 10/10/13 at 9:13am

    Two almost three years later im still deeply affected by this…

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