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Fire destroys historic Silver Creek home

On Dec. 19, fire claimed the home of long-time Silver Creek resident Roy Sipper. A benefit account has been opened in his name at THFCU. Photo by Jennifer Reinertson

Just days before Christmas, Roy Sipper, a long-time resident of Silver Creek, lost his home and belongings to fire. Friends and neighbors have been donating items to meet his immediate needs and those of his son, but they’re looking to the community for help. To that end, an account has been opened at Two Harbors Federal Credit Union and cash donations are being accepted

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Neighbors say that the fire started in the home’s chimney on Dec. 19, quickly consumed the structure. Sipper’s son, Willy, who was in the house at the time, was able to escape the blaze without harm, but the building is no longer habitable. Willy is living in a camper on the property, while Roy, who was away when the fire broke out, is staying with friends.

“Thank God he wasn’t home,” neighbor Linda Schueler said of the elder Sipper, who is in his 70s, “he wouldn’t have made it out.” Schueler added that the refrigerator that once stood in the home’s kitchen is now in the basement and recovering any of the men’s’ belongings from the structure is not safe.

“I think if we got a hard snow, (the house) would fall in,” she said. “(Roy) lost everything and he’s elderly and doesn’t have a lot of money. He’s starting all over again.”

The home where the father and son lived was built in the early part of the last century and has historical significance, according to a family friend. It was the first wood-framed house built in Silver Creek.

“The house was built in 1910,” said family friend Jenny Reinertsen. “Roy and his wife Rita purchased the home when they were in their early 20’s, and raised two boys there. Roy actively farmed the land, and paid for it in total by the time he was 28 by selling a large herd of cattle. This last October 20 marked his 50th year in the house.”

Schueler said that Roy Sipper plans to rebuild his home, possibly starting this spring. In the meantime, community members can contribute to the benefit account at THFCU by dropping off or mailing donations. The credit union is located at 626 Second Avenue in Two Harbors.