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Tag Archive | "fire"

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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Stove ventilation fan causes fire


 

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Fire Department responded to a call on a stove fire at 280 Ann St., near Metron, at 3:17 p.m., Friday, July 7.

According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, when they arrived on scene, there were no flames showing. An adult in the home said she got up and heard a noise in the kitchen and saw a light haze. She also said the exhaust fan was making a weird noise.

Fraser said that when they opened up the cupboard above it, they found charring. There was no access to the attic so they opened up a hole in the roof and found smoke and some fire.

Chief Fraser said the cause of the fire was that the range’s ventilator fan had shorted out. The home mostly suffered water damage.

The three adults in the home and their animals all evacuated safely.

c assisted at the scene, with Rockford Ambulance on standby.

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Marijuana wax operation causes fire


Fire crews at the scene of a house fire after an explosion on Lime Lake Dr on June 21. Photo by Cheryl Barrigear on WZZM13.com.

By Judy Reed

Neighbors called 9-1-1 after hearing an explosion on Wednesday evening, June 21, at 13386 Lime Lake Dr.

According to Solon Township’s Deputy Fire Chief Chris Paige, they were called out at 10:59 p.m. The first unit arrived on scene to see heavy smoke, with flames showing in the main floor of the home. The three occupants of the home were already out of the house.

“We had it out within about a half hour, but were on scene an addition 1-1/2 hours checking for hot spots,” said Paige.

Algoma, Kent City, and Sand Lake Fire Departments all assisted at the scene.

The Kent County Sheriff Department also responded to the scene. According to police, a 39-year-old resident told deputies that they were making marijuana wax prior to the explosion. The man suffered severe burns to his hands and feet, as well as cuts from glass, and was transported to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital.

The fire is still under investigation, and authorities have not yet released any more information.

Marijuana wax is also known as Honeycomb, Wax, Butter, and BHO (butane hash oil). It’s made from oils found in pot plants and has a higher concentration of THC than most marijuana products. Highly flammable butane gas is used to extract the THC from the marijuana leaf, and has resulted in home explosions, injuries, and deaths.

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Lawn mower starts car on fire


A fire spread from a lawn mower to a car in Nelson Township Monday. Post photo by L. Allen.

By Judy Reed

What started out as a fire in the engine of a lawn mower in Nelson Township Monday turned into something bigger when it spread to the homeowner’s automobile.

According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, they were called to a home on Myers Lake Avenue, between Stout and 19 Mile, about 2:45 p.m., Monday, June 19. “It came across as a lawn mower/tractor fire, and it was next to a car,” explained Fraser. “It was then updated when were on the way to a car fire.”

Post photo by L. Allen.

Fraser said that the homeowner had been mowing the grass, then parked it next to the car and went into the house. When she came back out, she tried to restart the mower but it wouldn’t start, so she checked under the hood and found it was on fire. She then called 911, and the fire quickly spread from the lawn tractor to the car.

Fraser said both were burning when they arrived on scene. The cause was undetermined.

Sand Lake assisted at the scene, and Spencer Township Fire was put on standby in case the fire spread to the garage before they got it out. “It melted some vinyl on the garage but that was it. They were lucky,” said Fraser.

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