About two miles up Highway 2, just a five-minute drive from downtown Two Harbors, the Gansers spent almost a half-century and raised five children in a little one-story house.
When the parents passed away, they left the home to all five of their kids. Many members of the Ganser brood have moved to other locales, but until Jan. 25, Otmar was living in the family home. He was out of the house that Saturday when fire broke out.
His sister Regina Cushman still lives in Two Harbors and got a call just after noon that the house was on fire. She rushed out to the property to see the garage completely destroyed and the roof of the house ablaze.
“My dad built that house. He put a lot of work into it,” Cushman said. “It was really devastating to watch it burn.”
Two-and-a-half weeks later, Otmar Ganser is still living with one of his sisters in Duluth. Efforts have been made to clean up the property, but it is still in need of massive repairs. A tangled mass of debris covers the ground where the garage was. The smoke-stained house is covered in a tarp, awaiting a new roof.
There’s no official word on what caused the fire, but the home wasn’t covered by insurance and the family is struggling to come up with the money to repair it. Estimates place the roof repair at around $5,000. On top of that, the smoke damage inside the house will need to be remedied and interior floors must be replaced. Then, the garage will need to be rebuilt.
To raise money for the repairs, the American Legion is hosting a benefit on March 8.
“Every little bit is going to help now,” said Rob Royal, Cushman’s partner. “We appreciate the support.”
Local businesses have banded together to provide food and silent auction items for the benefit. A spaghetti dinner will be held from 4 to 7 p.m., with plenty of good music for diners’ enjoyment and the auction items going to the highest bidders. Cash donations are being accepted at the Two Harbors Federal Credit Onion and The Little Store, too.
“Our goal is to definitely rebuild,” Cushman said.
If you go: Spaghetti Dinner Benefit to rebuild Ganser family home
n American Legion
n March 8, 4–7 p.m.
n $8 per plate