By Judy Reed
Another Cedar Springs business has succumbed to fire.
Firefighters were called to the scene of a structure fire at 25 S. Main Street in Cedar Springs, just after 11:30 p.m. Thursday evening, August 6. The building, owned by Tom Cronkright, houses three apartments on the top level, and Cinderella Slipper Scrapbooking on the first floor. According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Jerry Gross, the fire was contained primarily within the business, which was a total loss. He said the fire started on the north side of the business, about halfway back. “Reaching it was a little difficult because of the heavy smoke and heat,” he noted.
The building, however, was saved.
Sand Lake Fire Department and Algoma Fire Departments assisted at the scene, while Solon and Courtland Fire Departments were put on standby. The fire was under control by 11:20, and fire departments cleared the scene just after 2 a.m.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, and is still under investigation.
There was only one family at home in the apartments at the time, and they escaped without injury, in part due to the family dog. According to Heather Cross, she and her three children were sleeping when Chico, their two-year-old pit bull, began to bark. “It was a weird bark, like he was scared,” recalled Heather. “I got up and looked around but didn’t see anything, so I told him to be quiet and went back to bed.”
A little bit later her 7-year-old son got up and told his mom he smelled smoke. “There was smoke from one wall to the other,” she said.
About that same time, her boyfriend, Angel Perez, came home. Heather said she yelled, “Fire!” and the two then got the three children, Seth, 7, Julian 1, and Brianna, 2 months, to safety. Perez said he didn’t see the fire because he came up the back stairs. But he was proud of Chico for trying to tell Heather about the fire. “Pit bulls often have a bad name, but he’s a good dog,” he said. The family is currently staying with relatives in Grand Rapids. They had no renters insurance.
While their apartment had mainly smoke damage, they said they won’t be going back. “I’m traumatized, and I know the kids are traumatized,” said Heather. If anyone would like to offer assistance to the family, call the Cedar Springs Post at 696-3655.
This is the second fire in downtown Cedar Springs in less than six months. In March, three businesses and several apartments were destroyed in a structure fire at 59 S. Main that started in an upstairs apartment. That building was also owned by Tom Cronkright and later demolished.