Firefighters responded to the scene of a tragic house fire on Northland Drive, just south of Sand Lake, Thursday morning, January 20, that killed a man and sent his sister to the hospital.
According to Sgt. Steve Dabkowski, of the Kent County Sheriff Department, the homeowner, Sandra DeVault, 57, came out of her bedroom a little before 7 a.m. to find the living room, where her brother slept, engulfed in flames. She was unable to get him out.
Both Sand Lake and Cedar Springs Fire Departments fought the blaze. Dabkowski said they had initially knocked the fire down, and firefighters were inside, and ambulance workers almost inside, when it caught fire again. The man, William Samalot, 58, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Dabkowski said according to DeVault, her brother was on oxygen and often smoked. “That looks to be the probable cause of the fire,” said Dabkowski.
DeVault was taken to Spectrum Butterworth, where she was being treated for smoke inhalation.
The fire is still under investigation.