Home is former schoolhouse
By Judy Reed
A faulty chimney is believed to have caused a house fire in Solon Township earlier this week.
According to Solon Fire Chief Jeff Drake, they were called to the home at 811 21 Mile Road, on the NE corner of 21 Mile and Albrecht, at 5:55 a.m. Monday morning, February 9. He said that the homeowner, Daniel Vazquez, woke up and went to feed some wood into a newly installed wood burner, in the back of the house, and noticed smoke. He and his wife, two children and dog got out safely. When he went outside, there was smoke and flames coming from around the chimney and roofline.
Drake said that when the first engine arrived on scene, flames were coming through the roof and back of the house. Sand Lake, Algoma, and Kent City assisted at the scene, and Cedar Springs was on stand by in case Solon had any other calls.
The fire reignited on Tuesday morning, but Drake said that’s not uncommon in homes with cellulose insulation, and it was quickly put out.
A fire investigator ruled the cause as a faulty chimney.
Drake said that the home was not currently habitable, but could be repaired. He estimated damage at about $100,000 to the house, and $20,000 to the contents.
Clothing and other types of donations (such as gift cards) for the family can be dropped off at Cedar View Elementary.
The home, which has been renovated, was once a rural schoolhouse called Hoag School. Not much is known about it, but according to info from The Cedar Springs Historical Society, Lena Reichelt Caldwell wrote a piece about Hoag School for a new book they are putting together. She said the school was named after Lyman Hoag Sr. His son, Lyman Hoag Jr., later married Mittie Ross, who was hired by Hoag, Sr. to teach at the school in about 1890.