UPDATE: Victims identified in rural Braham house fire

UPDATE: Authorities have released the names of the two people who died following a house fire in rural Braham on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

Ronald Jerome Musta, 56, and Kathleen Kay Johnson, 65, both of Braham, died of smoke inhalation and were found in close proximity to each other in the home; the deaths are ruled accidental due to the fire, according to a Thursday morning press release from the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office.

The exact cause of the fire remains undetermined, but investigators from the sheriff’s office and the State Fire Marshal’s Office did not see anything suspicious and ruled the fire accidental at this time, the release indicated.

The Isanti County 911 Communications Center received a call at 11:53 a.m. from a passerby of a structure fire at 41125 Polk St. NE which is located in Isanti County. The caller stated the structure was a home, and it was fully involved.

Members of the Braham Fire Department responded along with mutual aid from Cambridge Fire. The Isanti County Sheriff’s Office, along with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, also responded to assist in the investigation due to the nature of the fire.

After further investigation into the structure fire, there was a reason to believe there may have been a person or persons inside the house at the time of the fire and may not have made it out of the house. After several hours of sifting through debris, investigators and fire personnel located the bodies of two individuals. The bodies were sent to the medical examiner’s office to determine positive identification and to determine exact cause of death.

Isanti County Chris Caulk said Wednesday afternoon it has been determined that the fire was accidental, and the two individuals passed away as a result of the fire.

Caulk said considering the circumstances, all emergency responders did a great job.

“Everyone did a great job and worked well together,” Caulk said. “Braham Fire should be commended as they had at least six to eight firefighters (more while knocking down the fire) on scene from the time the call came in until we cleared the scene around 10 p.m. Isanti County Safety & Rescue should also be commended as they were on site offering assistance from the time the call came in until about 2 p.m. the next day offering scene security and helping at the scene.”

The case remains an active investigation by the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office and the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Also assisting at the scene were Allina Medical Transportation and Isanti County Safety and Rescue.