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Tag Archive | "fire"

Fire at Kent Ridge apartments accidental


A fire in the Kent Ridge Apartments in Kent City last week has left several people homeless. Photo from WOODTV.com.

A fire in the Kent Ridge Apartments in Kent City last week has left several people homeless. Photo from WOODTV.com.

By Judy Reed

 

The fire at Kent Ridge apartments was due to discarded smoking material. Photo from Lee Anne Ritzema.

The fire at Kent Ridge apartments was due to discarded smoking material. Photo from Lee Anne Ritzema.

A fire that left 18 homeless in Kent City last week has been labeled an accident.

According to Kent City Fire Chief Mike Rexford, the fire broke out in a building at Kent Ridge apartments on Wednesday, July 31, at about 2:10 a.m.

“The fire started in a wicker basket out on a deck,” explained Rexford. “It was discarded smoking material that caught fire, went up the vinyl siding, through the vinyl soffet and into the attic.”

He said that the apartment dwellers tried to put out the fire after it was discovered, but it was too large. He said that they exited the apartment and started hollering “Fire!” and pounded on the door across the hall. Meanwhile, a young man and his sister smelled smoke and pulled the fire alarms. (The Grand Rapids Press said it was Katelin Powers, 17, and her older brother Derrick.)

“He grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to put it out,” said Rexford. “He also pounded on doors and got everyone out of that unit.” The building actually was two separate units with 8 apartments each and separated by a firewall.

Rexford said he was on the scene within 5 minutes and saw heavy smoke. Six other fire departments also helped at the scene, including Sparta, Solon, Casnovia Twp., Algoma, Alpine, and an aerial truck from Walker.

The Chief said they made two rescues. He heard that one person who was bedridden was unaccounted for. A firefighter and Sheriff deputy broke down her door and got her out. She was in no immediate danger, but that wasn’t the case with the rescue that Rexford and another firefighter made.

“We pounded on a door where the woman hadn’t heard the fire alarms,” explained Rexford. “There was fire dropping from the attic access in the ceiling in the common hallway as we got her out. It was close.” He said that there was virtually no smoke in the apartments themselves, just the fire in the attic and roof.

Rexford couldn’t be more proud of the firefighters at the scene. “I’m pretty happy. They did a great job. The insurance people were blown away by the job we did on it,” he said.

The state fire marshal was not available to help survey the scene, so the ATF came out to help determine the cause of the fire. Insurance adjustors estimated the structural damage at $300,000-plus (the roof fell in), and loss of contents at $240,000 due to heavy water damage. Rexford said that out of the eight apartments affected with loss, only two had renters insurance. He noted that the owners hope to have it rebuilt in 4-5 months.

The eight units on the other side were protected by the firewall and suffered no damage. “It did its job,” noted Rexford. However, the electricity suffered and needs to be rerouted before residents can move back in.

The Red Cross stepped in to help those who had no place to go after the fire. Also, a couple of other residents who live there are trying to gather donations for those left homeless, including toiletries, blankets, pillows, clothes, shoes, etc. If you’d like to donate, email Lee Anne Ritzema at leeritzema@gmail.com.

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Fire extinguished at home on Second St


A small fire was found in an upstairs bedroom window of this home at 71 N. Second Street last Saturday morning.

A small fire was found in an upstairs bedroom window of this home at 71 N. Second Street last Saturday morning.

The Cedar Springs Fire Department was called to a fire at a home at 71 N. Second Street on Saturday, June 29, at about 11:33 a.m.

They arrived to find a smoke showing and a small fire in an upstairs bedroom window. They extinguished the fire, then looked to find the cause of the fire. They checked for extension cords but found none. The fire is still under investigation.

The fire department cleared the scene at 12:36 p.m.

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Police officer discovers burning vehicle


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Officer Christopher Richardson

Officer Christopher Richardson

While most people in the city slept, a fire broke out in a van parked in a driveway.

While on night patrol on Tuesday, July 2, at 1:30 a.m., Cedar Springs Police Officer Christopher Richardson started to smell smoke in the city and began to investigate. He located a burning vehicle at 71 W. Beech Street and alerted the fire department. He then woke the resident and made him aware of his van on fire outside in the driveway.

According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, the vehicle, a 1999 GMC van, is owned by a person in Greenville and was being used by this family member living in Cedar Springs. In addition to the van loss, the fire destroyed a number of heating and cooling tools, a small motorcycle and other personal belongings.

Parent said that the Cedar Springs Fire Department has not ruled out the possibility that the fire was caused by careless smoking. The fire originated in the area of the driver’s seat.

For those unfamiliar with Officer Richardson, Chief Parent explained that he has begun to cover shifts in Cedar Springs when full-time officers are off on vacation. “Chris has been working part-time hours in Grant and came to us as a certified patrol officer,” said Parent. “Officer Richardson completed his field training program and has been filling shifts over the last couple of weeks.”

 

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Home destroyed in fire


Fire ripped through this home in Algoma Township Monday. Post photos by J. Reed.

Fire ripped through this home in Algoma Township Monday. Post photos by J. Reed.

N-Fire2Six area fire departments were called to the scene of a house fire in northern Kent County Monday.

Algoma Township Fire responded to the scene on Friendly Ln, a private drive off 15 Mile, between Hoskins and Algoma, shortly before noon Monday, April 1. “It was gone before we got here,” said a fire official on scene.

The home was set back in the woods and water needed to be brought in on tankers.

Assisting fire departments included Cedar Springs, Courtland, Kent City, Sand Lake, and Solon.

No injuries were reported, and everyone got out safely. At press time Wednesday, there was no word yet from Algoma Fire on the cause of the blaze.

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Fire consumes mobile home


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Firefighters work to put out the blaze in this home in Oakfield Township.
Post photos by L. Allen.

-N-Fire2Firefighters battled snowy weather while fighting a blaze in Oakfield Township Wednesday, January 23.

The fire was reported about 3:45 a.m. at 10830 Podunk Avenue NE, north of 13 Mile Road. Oakfield, Courtland, and Spencer fire departments all responded to the scene.

A woman told a local news station that her mother was reportedly using a space heater to unfreeze her pipes, and it caught on fire. She was not injured.

The home went up quickly, and was a total loss.

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Barn behind Harvard tavern goes up in flames


Firefighters fought a barn fire behind Harvard Tavern Friday morning. Post photo by J. Reed.

The steel barn behind the Harvard Tavern, 12607 Harvard Avenue, in Oakfield Township, was reduced to a heap of rubble Friday morning, after a fire broke out between 10:30 and 11:45 a.m.

According to Oakfield Fire Chief Don Riker, a construction crew was demolishing the north end of the building with a set of torches when the insulation caught on fire. “It was windy and the wind just fanned the flames, causing it to spread,” explained Riker.

There were no injuries.

Oakfield Fire Department, Courtland Fire Department, and Spencer Fire Department all responded to the fire.

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ATF investigating Nelson Speed Shop fire


Estimated losses at Nelson’s exceed $5 million.
Post photo by L. Allen.

The National Response Team (NRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been activated by request from the Michigan State Police to investigate a fire at the Nelson’s Speed Shop, 4566 South Greenville Road, in Greenville.

A fire was reported to the Montcalm Township Fire Department last Friday, June 22, at approximately 1:30 a.m. Montcalm Fire reported heavy flames through the roof of the structure upon arrival. The Greenville Daily News reported that 11 fire departments and about 75 firefighters fought the blaze and cleared the scene 10-12 hours later.

The fire reportedly started in the back of the business, where fuel and oil was stored. The structure and contents are a total loss. The structure occupies approximately 50,000 square feet and the total estimated loss exceeds $5,000,000.

Nelson’s Speed Shop in flames last Friday morning.
Photo courtesy WOODTV.

“ATF will utilize all resources available and necessary to help determine the cause of this fire,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Arron Graves. “Our activation of the NRT speaks to the seriousness of which we hold this fire. ATF along with our partners will work tirelessly to determine the cause of this fire.” This is the 10th activation of the NRT in Fiscal Year 2012 and number 731 since the inception of the team in 1978. The NRT includes 20 team members and arrived on scene on Monday, June 25.

ATF is investigating this fire jointly with the Michigan State Police, the Greenville Department of Public Safety, the Montcalm Township Fire Department and the Montcalm County Sheriff Department. In addition to ATF NRT members, ATF is utilizing special agent investigators from the ATF Grand Rapids office as well as special agents from the Detroit Field Division.
Nelson’s was also destroyed in a fire in 2001. Two men were convicted of arson in that fire, and a third with having knowledge of it and failing to report it.

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Fire causes damage to kitchen


Smoke came from roof on the left side of the porch. Post photo by J. Reed.

A Cedar Springs man came home last Thursday, June 21, to see smoke rolling out of his roof.

The Cedar Springs Fire Department responded to the call at 40 W. Cherry Street, across the street from the library, about 11:29 a.m. Smoke was coming out of the eaves around the kitchen area of the two-story home.

According to Fire Chief Marty Fraser, the fire started in the attic or ceiling over the kitchen area, around a light fixture in the ceiling. He said the actual cause of the fire was undetermined.

Fraser said there was minimal structure damage, but a lot of cosmetic damage because they had to pull down the ceiling to get to it.

No one was injured in the fire, and there were no animals in the home at the time.

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Countertop business goes up in flames


By Judy Reed

Six fire departments worked together Saturday night to put out a fire at a Solon Township business.
The Solon Fire Department got the call at 7:04 p.m. January 21 that Quality Formica, 2396 17 Mile Road, at the southwest corner of 17 Mile and Algoma (across from Huck’s Corners),  was on fire.
According to Solon Fire Chief Joyce VanderMey, the fire started after someone had been doing some soddering on a copper water pipe earlier in the day. She said it was in a back room, close to the ceiling, and fire got into an attic space.
Algoma and Sand Lake Fire Departments were called for their tankers, Kent City was on full assignment, Cedar Springs was called for pump help, and Rockford was called in for their ladder truck.
Vandermey said they cleared the scene about 12:36 a.m. “We did a lot of salvaging and hauling out brand new stuff they had just purchased while we were fighting the fire,” she explained. Two vans and hi-lo were included in that. “We tried to save as much equipment for them as we could.”
The extreme cold and ice on the ground made it harder for firefighters to get around, but no one was injured.
The two-year-old business specializes in sales and installation of Formica countertops for both homeowners and businesses. The owner says he plans to rebuild.

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Couple saved from burning house


A Greenville couple was rescued from their home last week after it caught fire.
According to the Greenville Department of Safety, Officers Casey Huber and Eric Hoig responded to a fire last Thursday, about 5:55 a.m., at 313 E. Cass St. in Greenville. An 83-year-old woman at the residence told Huber there was also a 65-year-old man in a second floor bedroom. Officer Huber attempted to go upstairs, but was prevented by heavy smoke and fire. He called out to the man, who said he needed help and could not get out.
Huber took the woman out of the home, and when the fire engine arrived, grabbed a ladder and placed it on the roof near the bedroom window where the man was trapped. He then climbed the ladder and tried to make contact with the man, and clearly saw flames in the bedroom.
Officer Hoig entered the house and yelled to the man to go toward Officer Huber, who was at the bedroom window. Huber then reached through the window and pulled the man to safety. He and Fireman Tom Miller brought the man down the ladder. The man was treated by Montcalm County EMS and transported first to Spectrum Health United and later to a Grand Rapids area hospital.
Greenville Public Safety Officers were able to extinguish the fire, which appears to have started on the second floor. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Greenville was assisted by the Belding Fire Department.

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