Hoarding is a fire safety issue

Many fire departments are experiencing serious fires, injuries, and deaths as the result of compulsive hoarding behavior


The excessive accumulation of materials in homes poses a significant threat to firefighters fighting fires and responding to other emergencies in these homes and to residents and neighbors. Often, the local fire department will be contacted to help deal with this serious issue. Since studies suggest that between three and five percent of the population are compulsive hoarders, fire departments must become familiar with this issue and how to effectively handle it.


What is hoarding?

Hoarding is defined as collecting or keeping large amounts of various items in the home due to strong urges to save them and distress experienced when discarding them. Many rooms in the home are so filled with possessions that residents can no longer use the rooms as designed. The home is so overloaded with things that everyday living is compromised.


Why do people become hoarders?

Hoarding is a mental disorder that can be genetic in nature, triggered by traumatic events, or a symptom of another disorder, such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, or dementia. Studies have found that hoarding usually begins in early adolescence and gets worse as a person ages. It is more common among older adults.


Why is hoarding an issue for the fire service?

  • Hoarding can be a fire hazard. Many occupants die in fires in these homes. Often, blocked exits prevent escape from the home. In addition, many people who are hoarding are injured when they trip over things or when materials fall on them.
  • Responding firefighters can be put at risk due to obstructed exits, falling objects, and excessive fire loading that can lead to collapse. Hoarding makes fighting fires and searching for occupants far more difficult.
  • Those living adjacent to an occupied structure can be quickly affected when a fire occurs, due to excessive smoke and fire conditions.


In the Bagley/Clearwater County area, this has been an increasing problem. Our firefighters want to do everything they can to save lives and property. But when the safety of our firefighters is compromised by extremely unsafe conditions such as this, there is the possibility that we will need exit the building. This will hinder our effectiveness in containing a fire, leading to possible loss of life and increased fire damage.

Governor presents One Minnesota budget

On January 24, Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan presented their entire One Minnesota Budget to the legislature. The final package within their One Minnesota Budget includes $8 billion in tax cuts for seniors and working families, direct checks of up to $2,600 to help Minnesotans afford rising costs, and a framework to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis. Today’s roll out follows announcements focused on supporting children and families, investing in Minnesota’s economic future, and protecting Minnesotans’ health and safety. Details for the entire One Minnesota Budget can be found at


“Over the last week, we laid out our plan to make Minnesota the best state in the nation for children, invest in our economic future, combat climate change, and improve public safety across the state. Today, we lay out the full picture of how this budget will lower costs, cut taxes, and improve lives for Minnesotans,” said Governor Walz. “With the largest tax cut in state history, the One Minnesota Budget invests directly in the people that made our state strong in the first place. For a middle-class family of four, the One Minnesota Budget could put $10,000 back in their pocket. We are delivering a transformational budget for Minnesotans, and I look forward to getting this done.”   


“From centering kids and families and protecting our climate to investing in the health and safety of everyone in Minnesota and providing meaningful and historic tax cuts for working families and seniors, the One Minnesota Budget provides a clear roadmap of our shared values,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in the people and places across Minnesota and deeply improve lives for generations to come. The investments and proposals throughout the One Minnesota Budget meet that moment.”  


Provide Direct Payments and Tax Cuts for Working Families and Seniors 

Minnesotans continue to drive the state’s economy forward and as a result, Minnesota has a historic surplus. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor recommend sending nearly $4 billion of the state’s surplus directly back to Minnesotans in the form of checks up to $2,600. These direct payments would be structured as an advanced income tax credit equal to $2,000 for families with income below $150,000 and $1,000 for single filers making less than $75,000. More than 2.5 million Minnesota households would receive a check in the One Minnesota Budget.  The Governor and Lieutenant Governor also recommend $219 million to reduce taxes on Social Security benefits for over 350,000 Minnesota households. This proposal would expand the number of seniors eligible for lower Social Security taxes and raise the thresholds at which the tax cuts start to phase out. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor recommend increasing the Local Government Aid and County Program Aid programs by $30 million each, assisting cities and counties with improving their local roads and infrastructure and keeping property taxes low for Minnesotans. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor also recommend increasing the School Building Bond Agricultural Credit to help support schools in greater Minnesota and lower property taxes for farmers. This comes after the Governor proposed over $1 billion over four years in tax credits to expand the Child and Dependent Care Credit and $1.1 billion in tax cuts in 2024-2025 and $1.2 billion in 2026-2027, creating a nation-leading Child Tax Credit and cutting child poverty by 25%. The Governor also proposed significant tax cuts through the Angel Tax Credit and the State Historic Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit. 


Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis 

Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan recommend funding for the safe and responsible legalization of adult-use cannabis in Minnesota. A new Office of Cannabis Management would be responsible for the implementation of the regulatory framework for adult-use cannabis and hemp-derived products, along with the medical cannabis program. The recommendation also includes funding for grants to assist individuals entering the legal cannabis market, additional resources for substance use disorder treatment and prevention, and expungement of non-violent offenses involving cannabis. 


Build a Clean Transportation System 

Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan are committed to developing a reliable and clean transit system that provides improved access and air quality. The One Minnesota Budget provides $29.2 million in one-time funding to purchase up to 30 battery electric buses with charging infrastructure in place of replacement diesel buses. Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan recommend $2 million each year to leverage federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funds that invest in efforts to reduce carbon emissions, expand the state’s electric vehicle charging network, and build a more resilient transportation system. Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan also recommend a significant investment to provide the state match for IIJA-funded multimodal transportation projects across Minnesota, improving the quality and performance of the state’s transportation system. 


Invest in Minnesota’s Higher Education System 

Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan propose increased funding for the state’s two public higher education systems, Minnesota State, and the University of Minnesota, and for the state’s tribal colleges. The proposal ensures tribal colleges receive the same per-student funding as other Minnesota public higher education institutions. The One Minnesota Budget also provides funding for Minnesota State to increase student mental health support. 


Additional details for the One Minnesota Budget can be found at   


The Governor and Lieutenant Governor will announce their plan to improve the state’s infrastructure later this week. 


With the heavy snowfall already this winter, and more sure to come, please be sure to keep walkways and driveways clear. Those are your exits and our fireman’s entrances during emergencies.


Carbon monoxide calls become more common in winter months as well. Be mindful of any exhaust vent that could be plugged by snow or ice.


We are a small community, but we are a close community. Please consider watching over an elderly neighbor or anyone that may need assistance with snow removal.

No serious injuries in school bus accident

1/ 12/ 23 – On Wednesday, January 11 around 10 am, a Bagley school bus and a car were involved in a crash at the intersection of County 7 and US Hwy 2 North of Ebro. No serious injuries were reported.


At the time of the crash, there was heavy snow fall in the area, which severely limited visibility.


According to the State Patrol report, The Honda HR-V was westbound on US Hwy 2 and the school bus northbound on Clearwater CR 7 when they collided in the intersection. Nine students were aboard the bus, one of which was transported to Bagley Sanford Hospital with minor injuries.


The driver of the Honda, Eric Norgaard of Bemidji, was treated and released at the site. The driver of ISD 162 Bus 20, Felry Larson, was treated and released at the site.


The students were transferred to another bus and went to school.


Sanford EMS, Bagley Fire Dept, Clearwater County Sheriff Dept, MN State Patrol, and school officials were on scene.

Breaking news in Clearwater County

Unlike the big cities, life is quiet in Clearwater County, and we like it that way!

Every now and then, something newsworthy does happen and we will post it here.


If you see news happening, send us a text at (218) 979-4653 to let us know.