New Ulm bed and breakfast where 6 died in fire not licensed, inspected

6:06 AM, Jul 8, 2011   |    comments
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Courtesy: The Journal Newspaper, New Ulm Kevin Sweeney. Journal Editor
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  • 6 dead in fire at New Ulm bed and breakfast
  • NEW ULM, Minn. -- The bed and breakfast house that caught fire, killing six people in New Ulm, had not been recently inspected and was not licensed for guests.

    New Ulm fire marshal Ellwood Zabel says he didn't do an annual inspection of the Bohemian Bed and Breakfast because the owner said it would not be used for guests. City records show owner Roberta McCrea did not apply for a license to use the house for lodging in 2011.

    Officials on Thursday identified the six people accidentally killed in a fire at a New Ulm bed breakfast.

    They are 48-year-old Roberta Ann McCrea of New Ulm, the owner of the bed and breakfast, and her daughters, 15-year-old Abby Gayle Wood and 3-year-old Savannah Grace McCrea.

    Also killed were 67-year-old Andrew Uhing of Hardington, Neb.; 62-year-old Joseph J. Bergman of Centuria, Wis. and 59-year-old Dian Lee Bergman of Centuria, Wis.

    The Ramsey County medical examiner's office has determined all but Joseph Bergman died of carbon monoxide poisoning due to the fire. He was found to have died of burns.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation by the New Ulm Fire Department, the state fire marshal's office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

    City records show inspection of the inn in two previous years uncovered problems that were corrected. Those corrections included moving a kitchen fire extinguisher from the stove and replacing batteries in smoke detectors. Zabel said when he arrived at the fire Saturday, he could hear smoke alarms had activated.

    Jacob Bergman, the son of Joseph and Dian says his parents would have been married 38 years next month.

    Joseph and Dian Bergman were visiting with their longtime friends from Nebraska at the Bohemian bed and breakfast in New Ulm when the fire broke out last Saturday. Jacob says his family lived in Nebraska before moving to Wisconsin about 20 years ago.

    Bergman says his parents farmed near Centuria in Polk County and also worked off the farm. He says his parents were strict, but fair in raising him and his brother and sister.

    (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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