East metro firefighter credits thermostat app with saving his home from complete loss after fire

East metro firefighter credits thermostat app with saving his home from complete loss after fire

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(KSTP) – The community is rallying around an east metro volunteer firefighter and his family after their home suffered major damage in a fire.

But it’s thanks to one piece of technology that likely prevented it from burning to the ground.Matt Lebeis has been a volunteer firefighter for the Lower St. Croix Valley Fire Department for two years now.“I’ve always wanted to do it since I was a small kid,” Lebeis said.

But Lebeis and his fiancée, Danielle, never thought they would be the ones needing an emergency response team at their Lake St. Croix Beach home.

“It was like looking at a house that wasn’t mine,” Danielle Vinson said.

If it weren’t for a thermostat and the app connected to it, Lebeis believes his home would be a total loss.

“I had an alert on my phone that said your house is higher than normal,” Lebeis said. “It’s the cheapest peace of mind that I’ve ever bought and I would suggest it for anybody.”

Eventually, the app that tracks his thermostat read 131 degrees but no one was home on the evening of March 16.

“I was like, ‘I think there might be a fire,’” Lebeis recalled.

Lebeis called his fire chief and the crew put out the flames as quickly as they could. Unfortunately, his home still suffered major damage and his family’s two dogs did not survive.

“We went on car rides and even the back of my car still has her nose prints on it and it’s hard; I don’t want to wash them out,” Lebeis said.

“It was really emotional when it hit you,” Vinson said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. For now, Lebeis and Vinson, who are getting married in June, are staying in a house nearby. While they’re saddened by what they lost, they’re grateful for all the support.

“Everybody is just coming together and it’s truly amazing,” Vinson said.

Lebeis and Vinson say it’ll take between six and nine months to rebuild. They do have a GoFundMe for anyone who’d like to donate.