by STEPHANIE BROST
A member of the Winona County Sheriffs Mounted Posse escaped the flames of a fire that destroyed his house at 3:14 Sunday morning on Almond Drive, east of Lewiston. ?Darren Frances Gereau, 39, reported being woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of his smoke detector. When flames blocked the hallway escape route, Gereau jumped from his bedroom window on the second floor. After reaching the ground, Gereau managed to get his German shepherd out of the house before the animal suffered any injuries. When deputies arrived, Gereau was lying on the ground nursing an injury to his neck and back. Gereau was transported to the hospital where he was treated for the injury as well as smoke inhalation. Lewiston Fire Department Chief, Charlie Matzke, said if Gereau had waited 30 seconds longer, he may not have made it out in time. Firefighters spent the next few hours fighting the flames that engulfed Gereauís home. Matzke said it is difficult to determine the cause of the fire. The fire left Gereauís home a pile of charred wood and ashes but spared surrounding buildings and vehicles. Gereau was released form the hospital Sunday afternoon with hopes of rebuilding his home.