Actor jumps through window to escape house fire in Stillwater

Children’s Theatre Company performer Reed Sigmund had to break a window at his house in Stillwater on Tuesday morning and jump off the roof shirtless and without shoes to escape a fire that engulfed his home.

The fire started just before 10 a.m. Tuesday in his family’s house on the 500 block of Williams Street South.

Sigmund’s wife, Autumn Ness, who also is an actor at Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis, told firefighters she was doing laundry at the time of the fire. The fire appears to have started near the dryer in the main-floor laundry room, said Fire Chief Stu Glaser.

“She said she smelled smoke, and when she went to check, there were flames coming up the back of the wall,” Glaser said.

Ness yelled at Sigmund, who was on the upper level, to get out of the house, “but he couldn’t get down the stairs because the heat and smoke were so intense,” Glaser said.

Sigmund broke a window, escaped to a lower-level roof area and then climbed down onto the back deck, Glaser said. He was treated at the scene for cuts on his hand from the broken glass by Lakeview EMS, he said. Sigmund was later admitted Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater to be treated for burns and smoke inhalation, according to a post on an online fundraiser that was started for the family.

The GoFundMe fundraiser, which was started by family members, had raised more than $48,000 by Wednesday night.

“What did we do on this beautiful Tuesday morning?” Ness wrote in post shared on the site. “We started the dryer, which in 10 minutes, turned our home to … well, what you see here. Humans and dogs are safe, insurance is progressing, boys are processing, and we are OVERWHELMED with the generosity we have received today. … Fire PSA — LEAVE! It was less than 90 seconds from ‘I smell something’ to no light and no air. Be safe friends.”

The couple’s sons Sawyer and Sullivan were at school at the time of the fire, Glaser said.

Glaser said a firefighter suffered a shoulder injury while fighting the fire when a falling beam landed on him and had to be treated at Lakeview Hospital.

Sigmund, who has also performed with the Zephyr Theatre in Stillwater, is appearing in the upcoming production of “Hello, Dolly!” at Theatre Latte Da in Minneapolis.

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