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Victim of Afton fire looking for second home

Late last month Afton resident Reuben Moll, 91, lost everything when his house went up in flames.

On May 29 firefighters fought the house fire on 15th Street for several hours. Trucks from a total of seven agencies - Lower St. Croix Valley, Woodbury, Cottage Grove, Lake Elmo, Bayport, Mahtomedi and Oakdale - responded to the scene.

The cause of the fire was determined to be related to a heating source.

Now, Moll is asking Afton City Council to grant him approval for a new home on his property.

Moll went before City Council during its June 19 meeting to request a temporary housing permit to live in an RV while a more permanent solution is found.

Possible solutions given would be a mobile home or to rebuild the house.

Moll had previously been living with his daughter, however the living arrangements were difficult since all of the bedrooms were on the second floor and Moll's age made going up and down the stairs difficult.

Council Member Joe Richter initially met Moll's request with some hesitation in regard to how the city's building codes relate to RV homes.

"I'm trying to provide some sanity to protect his health," he said.

Additionally Richter voiced concerns over the fact that the city's code does not permit mobile homes as a permanent primary residence.

Council Member Randy Nelson disagreed with Richter's concerns and stated that people live in RV homes all the time.

"I don't think we need to delve into this too much," he said. "If they're comfortable with that situation, it's not for us to question.

"It's a family decision and I put a lot of weight to that - I don't think that's too much to ask."

Afton City Council ultimately granted Moll a permit to live in the RV on his property for a maximum of four months.

If more time is needed, Moll will be asked to come back before City Council for approval.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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