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Family picks up the pieces after arson fire damages home

Fri, May 30th, 2003
Posted in Features

Bill Collett stands outside the charred remains of his garage in Chatfield. The fire was allegedly set by Floyd George Moose, who is being held at the Fillmore County Jail. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 9.

Bill Collett of Chatfield seemed fairly philosophical for someone whose house had been extensively damaged by an arson fire. Collett, his wife Jennifer, and their daughter Madison moved into their home less than a year ago.

I am glad I was the one that was home when this happened, and not my wife and child, Collett recalled.

Collett was outside working on the deck of his new house in the Conway Addition, in the southeast part of town on Friday, May 23, when police informed him that a man with a gun was seen running through the neighborhood. Collett was instructed to lock his house.

When I went to shut the garage door, I had an eerie feeling and the hair on the back of my neck stood up, Collett remembered. So I shut the garage door using the automatic opener in the car in the driveway.

Unbeknownst to Collett, when he shut his garage door he trapped Floyd Moose inside. According to the criminal complaint filed in Fillmore County District Court on Tuesday, Moose is alleged to have started the fire in Colletts garage that later spread to the house, causing extensive smoke damage to the first and second floors. Many of the familys personal items will need to be replaced.

Also destroyed in the fire was a Harley Davidson motorcycle and riding lawn mower that were in the garage.

In addition to first degree arson charges, Moose is charged with 10 other felony counts, that include attempted second degree murder, kidnapping, burglary and assault.

Collett expects that it will take two to three months to make the proper repairs to his house, which are estimated to be in the six figures. Meanwhile the family is living with Jennifers relatives in town.

Everything will have to go down to the studs, Collett said, as he stood in the kitchen and looked toward the living room. All the dry wall, and anything covered in cloth, will have to go.

The smoke painted both rooms with a greenish black hue.

The couch and chair will have to go, Collett said, pointing to the plaid furniture.

On the floor, childrens toys were piled neatly beneath a picture of Bill and Jennifers daughter Madison that was streaked with smoke.

Oh, and I guess well need to replace all those toys, Collett said, his voice trailing off.

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