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Tag Archive | "Jeff Drake"

Quick response saves group home


Post photo by J. Reed.

Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Solon Township Fire Chief Jeff Drake credits a new mutual automatic aid system with neighboring fire departments for keeping an adult foster care home from being consumed by fire last week.

Fire broke out at the home at 2690 Wiersma, in Solon Township, about 6:14 p.m., on Thursday, February 6. Drake said that they when they arrived on scene at 6:21, there was heavy fire and smoke at the front of the home. Fortunately, due to the MABAS agreement (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System), Cedar Springs, Kent City, and Algoma Fire Departments were automatically dispatched at the same time, giving Solon plenty of manpower to get the fire under control quickly.

Post photo by M. Ford.

Post photo by M. Ford.

Drake said that the fire had spread into the attic and got to the trusses. “There was minimal damage inside, but 50 percent of the roof will need to be replaced,” he explained.

He said the fire started on the front porch. A resident who had been smoking in the designated area disposed of the cigarette butt properly in a “butt hut,” but it was packed full and started on fire, melting the plastic. “They had failed to clean or maintain it,” explained Drake.

He estimated the loss at $50,000 property, and $5,000 in contents. The owner, Spectrum Health, is insured.

“It was an awesome save. An incredible save, really, considering the weather. We just recently set up the MABAS agreement, and it’s already paid its dividends,” he remarked.

Drake said he would especially like to thank the three departments for their cooperation and responding quickly to the scene. “If we didn’t have that agreement, and had waited 10 more minutes before calling them, it might’ve been a different story,” he said.

He said 22 of 28 Fire departments in Kent County are now participating in MABAS. Those who have agreements with neighboring fire departments respond automatically to all structure fires.

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Fire ravages mobile home


N-Fire1

N-Fire2A Solon Township family is homeless for the holidays after a fire destroyed their mobile home Wednesday morning.

According to Solon Fire Chief Jeff Drake, he received a call at the fire station at 9:39 a.m. from a neighbor reporting the fire at 2280 18 Mile Rd, which is west of Algoma. Drake was on scene within minutes but the mobile home was already gone.

According to Kent County Sheriff Deputy Ryan Guernsey, the neighbor said she heard what she thought was several gunshots and didn’t think much of it, but then she looked out the window and saw the mobile home in flames.

The Cedar Springs Fire Department supplied their engine and manpower at the scene to put out the fire.

A couple and two children lived in the home, along with several pets. Drake said that the family had left at 6:30 a.m. and so was not at home at the time of the fire. The cats were believed to be outside, but it is unknown whether the dog was in the home at the time.

Drake said the cause of the fire could not be determined. The family, who was renting the home, was uninsured. The home was a total loss. It is estimated the family lost $5,000 in contents. The assessed value of the home by the Township was $27,000.

Drake said the family is staying with other family members.

For those who would like to help the family financially, we’ve been told that an account has been set up for them at Choice One Bank in Cedar Springs. If you have donations of clothing or other items, contact Vonda Hendges at (616) 293-8282. The girls are 5 and 8 years old, and wear sizes 5 and 8. Also needed are women’s 6/7 in pants and medium in tops; and men’s 32-32 pants and medium shirts.

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