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Mother, son escape from early-morning house fire

By Bob Freund

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

A young neighbor knocked on the door at Robert and Sharon Liddy’s house at about 3:45 a.m. today.

"They were just pounding," Sharon Liddy said several hours later.

Shirtless and barefoot, 14-year-old Kyle Meek-Nelson and his mother, Lori Sue Meek, sought shelter from early-morning cold.

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"He was shook up," Sharon said.

With good reason. Their two-bedroom bungalow was on fire. Kyle had just pulled his mother out of her bedroom, where the fire had started, according to a Rochester Fire Department spokesman. Lori Sue Meek had been trying to fight the blaze, a fire official said.

The Liddys, who had been sleeping, gave the boy a blue and pink afghan to warm up and took both of them in. Sharon Liddy called 911. Neither Meek nor her son was injured, but the family’s cat died.

Just after dawn, a charred blue mattress lay behind the small house at 14 1/2 11th St. N.W., located behind the street at the intersection of two alleys. The side of the house above a window was scorched; several windows were covered with plastic.

The fire is under investigation, but it appears the cause was smoking materials, said Assistant Fire Marshal Dennis Olson.

Damage is estimated at $50,000 to $60,000, including building and contents.

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