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Tag Archive | "fire"

Suspicious fires deemed arson


Four fires were set around 4 a.m. Monday morning in Mecosta and Montcalm counties. Fire photo taken by a resident.

A Howard City man has been arrested and police are seeking charges against two alleged accomplices in a string of suspicious fires and a break-in that occurred early Monday morning in Mecosta and Montcalm Counties.

According to the Mecosta County Sheriff Office, the Morley Area Fire Department was dispatched to a report of a structure fire located in northern Deerfield Township on Monday, October 1, at approximately 4:32 a.m. During the response several other fires were discovered in the immediate area. A total of three structure fires were found to have occurred in Deerfield Township, Mecosta County. There was also a fire and a break-in that took place in northern Montcalm County at the same time that the Mecosta County fires were happening.  

According to the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post, the Montcalm incidents occurred in Reynolds and Winfield Townships.

Multiple surrounding fire departments responded to the fires, including, Lakeview Fire, Mecosta Twp. Fire, Morton Twp. Fire, Big Rapids Twp. Fire, Big Rapids Department of Public Safety Fire Division, Big Prairie fire in Newaygo County, and Maple Valley Fire in Montcalm county.  

The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office was also notified and the Mecosta County Fire Investigation Team was also requested and responded. There were no  reported injuries and all of the structures were unoccupied.    

The Michigan State Police Fire Investigation Unit also responded and investigated the Montcalm County fire. 

The investigation revealed that around 4 a.m. on 10-1-18 the three suspects drove to the locations, gained entry into the buildings, and purposely started all four fires. They also attempted to break into a residence where the owner was asleep. The resident awoke to the sound of the door being kicked in. He yelled at the suspects who then fled from the scene.

A joint investigation led to the identification of three suspects involved in these incidents. Those involved include an 18-year-old female from Morley; a 20-year-old male from Howard City; and a 32-year-old from Howard City. The 32-year-old was arrested for an outstanding warrant while warrants are being sought for the other two suspects.  

The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone that saw anything suspicious to contact the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office at 231-592-0150 or tips@mecostacounty.org, or call the Lakeview Post at 989-352-9444.

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Thank You


We would like to thank everyone who has been so generous with their donations of food, money, clothing, household items and more since we lost everything in a fire on July 1. We would especially like to thank Courtland, Cedar Springs, Oakfield, Spencer, Sand Lake, and Algoma Fire Departments; Rockford Ambulance; The Springs Church, Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, and Courtland Oakfield United Methodist Church; our dear friends Duane and Tiffany; our neighbors Laura and Don DeLange; the Klco family; Cedar Café; B&B Beauty Salon; The Cedar Springs Post; and so many others who have helped us. We could not get through this without you! You’ve turned a tragic moment into a blessing from the Lord. Thank you all so much!

Brian, Melissa, Zach, and Mackenzie Weber

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Courtland family loses home in fire


The home of Brian and Melissa Weber was destroyed in a fire early Sunday morning in Courtland Township. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

A Cedar Springs family is trying to rebuild their life after losing their home and most all of their possessions in a fire early Sunday morning.

According to Deputy Fire Chief Galen Green, Courtland Township Fire was dispatched to 7272 15 Mile Road, just east of Myers Lake Road, on a structure fire, about 7 a.m. Sunday, July 1. 

The owners, Brian and Melissa Weber, were in Minnesota and heading back home from vacation. Their young adult children, Zach and Mackenzie, both in their 20s, did not go with them. Zach was sleeping on the couch at the time of the fire, and Mackenzie was at a friend’s house.

Green said that the family dog woke Zach up. Brian confirmed that.

“Our dog had to bite Zach to get him to wake up. She saved his life,” he said.

Zach suffered some smoke inhalation, and was treated at the hospital and released.

Six fire departments battled the blaze: Courtland, Oakfield, Cedar Springs, Spencer, Sand Lake, and Algoma. Green reported that one firefighter went through the floor, but was ok.

According to Courtland Fire Chief Steve Mojzuk, he went through the ruins with the Michigan State Police Fire investigator. The cause of the fire was undetermined. 

The Webers have been going through the ashes, trying to find mementoes and family treasures. Brian said that Melissa found 80 percent of their photos, including their wedding photos, that didn’t burn. He found part of his grandfather’s Civil War gun. But what he is most glad about is that his family is alive. “The rest of it is all just stuff,” he said.

In the days following the fire, people from the community have come forward to help the Webers start to get back on their feet. “This is so humbling. They say it’s easier to give than to receive and it’s true,” said Brian. “We really want to thank The Springs Church, Courtland Oakfield United Methodist Church, and all the friends and community members who have donated to us; and Deputy Fire Chief Galen Green and his crew and all the other firefighters,” said Brian.

The Webers do have insurance and are planning to rebuild. They are currently staying in a home in the area. 

The Post has been collecting donations of clothing, cash, gift cards, and other items for the family. If you have something you’d like to donate, please give us a call at 616-696-3655 or contact us via Facebook messenger and we will check to let you know if it’s needed.

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Man takes own life after setting fire to home


 

This pole barn was completely destroyed in a suspicious fire Friday morning, May 18, 2018. Post photo by J. Reed

by Judy Reed

When Paul Schrier visited Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral home last Friday morning, he walked by a man sitting in his vehicle with the window down and gave him a friendly hello. He doesn’t remember if the man responded.

“I may have been the last person to talk to him,” said Schrier.

When he finished his business at the funeral home, Schrier noticed the man was still there in the parking lot as he headed over to Elmwood Cemetery to dig more holes for the Avenue of Flags. About 10 minutes later, Schrier heard a gunshot. When he looked to see what was going on, he saw the flashing lights of police at the funeral home. And then he heard another shot. What Schrier didn’t know was that this was the tragic end of the search for Bruce Bott, the 71-year-old Algoma Township man who had set his house on fire and burned his property earlier that morning, before ending his life in the parking lot of the funeral home.

A fire was set by the homeowner in the basement of this home on Algoma Ave. Post photo by J. Reed.

It started early Friday morning, May 18. According to Algoma Township Fire Chief Troy Guerra, they were toned out at 6:48 a.m. to a structure fire at 12131 Algoma Ave, between 14 and 15 Mile Roads. When they arrived on scene, they found the basement of the home on fire, as well as the pole barn. He said they sent out a second alarm on the pole barn fire to call in more aid. 

Guerra said they didn’t find anyone inside the home.

The fire also spread to a small shed behind the home, which was extinguished. The pole barn was destroyed.

The fire was deemed suspicious, and while firefighters from multiple fire departments battled the blazes, and the Michigan State Police investigated the fire, the Kent County Sheriff Department followed up on information they were given about a contentious divorce, in case the fire was deemed arson. The divorce between Bott and his wife was finalized April 30. So police began to search for Bott.

This shed near the home was also burned in the fire May 18. Post photo by J. Reed.

At approximately 9:30 a.m. the Kent County Sheriff Office received a call from Bliss-Witters & Pike funeral home in the 13000 block of Northland Dr NE. The caller reported a suspicious person who had just arrived at their facility. Dispatchers learned that Bott was sitting in his vehicle in the parking lot after dropping off a last will and testament to the funeral home.

The man was still sitting in his vehicle when officers arrived, but as deputies approached, they saw him shoot himself with a handgun. No shots were fired by responding deputies.

Bott was safely transported to Spectrum Butterworth with life threatening injuries. Shortly after 1:00 p.m., he was pronounced dead by medical staff at Spectrum Butterworth.

There were no injuries to the man’s ex-wife, who was not living at the home at the time of the fire.

 

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Fire destroys Nelson Township home


Fire consumed this Nelson Township home last Friday evening, April 13. Photo from Bruce Duncan.

By Judy Reed

An old home at 8147 19 Mile Rd, about ¼ mile east of  Pine Lake Rd, was destroyed in a fire Friday evening, April 13. 

According to Bruce Duncan, who lives nearby at 19 Mile and Pine Lake Rd, the house was under renovation and had recently received a new steel roof and had other repairs done.

“We don’t know how it started, but we were still up when the firefighters started to arrive,” said Duncan. “I walked out to the corner to look and counted 7 fire trucks, 2 ambulances and 2 tanker trucks that were bringing in water from Pine Lake. It was pretty involved by the time the first trucks started to come in. The house on the corner was damaged some from the heat of the fire.”

There wasn’t much left of this home at 8147 19 Mile Rd. Post photo by L. Allen.

Duncan said that years ago the home belonged to a Gladys Hicks, who was his girlfriend’s grandmother. “She remembers visiting and playing in the old house growing up. She was from the Gillespie family and with family ties, it was sad to watch it burn down. There’s a lot of history in that old house. The house on the corner next to it that received some damage was smaller back then and was a tenant house for the field workers,” he explained.

Some of the fire departments on scene included Spencer, Sand Lake, and Cedar Springs Fire Departments. The Post put in a call to Spencer Fire and Sand Lake Fire for some official information, but did not yet have that info by press time. 

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Fire guts garage, roof in Oakfield Township


This photo shows the garage fully involved. Photo by Oliver Johnson.

By Judy Reed

A battery charger attached to a truck was reportedly the cause of a fire that cost an Oakfield Township family their home last weekend. 

According to Oakfield Township Fire Chief Sam Peterson, two people were eating dinner Saturday evening at their home at 12806 Podunk Avenue, just north of McClain, when they heard an explosion. “They looked outside but didn’t see anything, and thought maybe it was the neighbors shooting off firecrackers. Then later they heard a second explosion, and looked out and saw the garage fully involved,” explained Peterson.

Oakfield Fire Department was dispatched to the home at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 31, with mutual aid from Spencer Township. They also called on Grattan and Courtland Township Fire to assist.

When they arrived, Peterson said the garage was fully involved, and the fire had gotten into the roof structure of the house as well. “We were able to keep it in the roof area of the house, but the rest of house had smoke and water damage from us trying to get the fire in the roof out,” he said.

He estimated about $300,000 worth of damage to the structure and contents. 

Their investigation showed that a battery charger attached to a truck in the garage had sparked, setting off the explosion.

The Nummer family escaped safely with their dog. Their children were not home at the time.

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Attic catches fire at auto shop


A fire in the attic at Bronk’s Auto Repair earlier this week was quickly extinguished.

By Judy Reed

An oil heater that was vented into an attic space is thought to be the cause of a fire that occurred Monday afternoon at an auto repair shop.

According to Algoma Fire Chief Troy Guerra, the call came in Monday, March 5, at 1:56 p.m. of a fire in the attic at Bronk’s Auto Repair, 10355 Northland Drive. They had automatic aid from Courtland Township Fire, and a second alarm was put out when told the attic was fully engulfed. On the second alarm, help was asked for from Oakfield, Kent City, Cedar Springs, Solon, Sparta and Rockford.

When they arrived on scene, Guerra said the attic did have fire and smoke, but was not as serious as originally thought. He said they extinguished the blaze in about 15 minutes, then continued to check for hot spots. They were on scene until about 4 p.m.

Guerra said he believed that a used oil heater that was vented into the attic space started the fire in the attic.

He said that as far as damage, the roof would need to be replaced. It had a newer roof built over the old roof, and both would need to come out.

Everyone made it out of the structure safely.

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Fire burns home in Oakfield Township


This home on Morgan Mills Rd in Oakfield Township was the scene of a fire Monday, October 2. Post photo by Judy Reed.

by Judy Reed

A 13-year-old Oakfield Township youth called 911 Monday after a fire started on his home’s back deck.

According to Oakfield Fire Chief Sam Peterson, they were dispatched at 3:31 p.m. on Monday, October 2, to 12700 Morgan Mills Rd, just south of MacClain, with automatic aid from Spencer Township.

Peterson said that when they arrived, flames were coming up the back of the house and across the roof. The boy was outside but the family’s cat was still inside, which a firefighter carried to safety.

Three other fire departments were also called in to help Oakfield and Spencer fight the blaze: Grattan, Courtland, and Greenville.

“We had it out by the hour mark on the radio,” said Peterson, “and we cleared about 7:14 p.m.”

Five fire departments battled the blaze at a home on Morgan Mills Rd Monday. Post photo by Judy Reed.

The home, which belongs to the Beyer family, is a bi-level with vaulted ceilings. Peterson said those types of ceilings aren’t great in a fire. “It just took the roof, and the rear wall is pretty damaged,” he said, with water and smoke damage throughout. He noted that it was probably partially savable, and the homeowners do have insurance.

The cause of the fire is not yet determined, and a fire investigator will be visiting to help determine the cause.

Post photo by Judy Reed.

Firefighters on the scene of a fire on Morgan Mills Rd. Post photo b Judy Reed.

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Air conditioner catches fire


 

The Cedar Springs Fire Department responded to possible structure fire at 341 S. 5th Street, near Pear Street, on Monday, Sept. 25, just before 9 p.m. Both Cedar Springs and Sand Lake were toned out on the call.

According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, the owner had put it 99 percent out with a fire hose. Fraser said some of the plastic siding was melted, and there was a charred exterior wall and railing. The air conditioner was also ruined.

Fraser said they believe the air conditioner shorted out and started the fire, but they don’t know what caused it to happen.

That’s the second air conditioner to catch fire in two months. The other fire occurred in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates in July.

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Heat from A/C starts afghan on fire


Smoke and flames were coming out the door when firefighters arrived on the scene of a fire at this mobile home last Saturday, July 22. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

A polyester afghan sealing off a window around an air conditioning unit caught fire last weekend in a mobile home in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates.

According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, they received the call at 11:07 a.m., Saturday, July 22, for 336 Carol Street. When they arrived on scene at 11:11 a.m., smoke and flames were coming out the front door. And by 11:14 a.m., they had the fire out.

“We had a good response time, and it was a quick knockdown,” reported Fraser.

He said that the fire was contained to the sofa area in the living room. The air conditioner was above it, with the polyester afghan around it to seal the window. Fraser said that the afghan was brittle and stiff, and that the heat from air conditioner started it on fire, which then started the sofa on fire.

The damage to the home was mainly smoke and water damage.

The Kent County Sheriff Department was on scene and helped evacuate the family, which consisted of a mom, dad, and three children, including a six-week-old  baby. Several animals were also evacuated safely.

The family was renting the home, and had no insurance. Red Cross was called in to help render aid.

Sand Lake Fire was automatically toned out for mutual aid, but then told to disregard, as was Rockford Ambulance.

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