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Categorized | Featured, News

Agencies reach out to families affected by fire

by Judy Reed

Seven families lost their home when a fire consumed one of the apartment buildings at 323 Oak Ct. in Cedar Springs on Tuesday, August 13.

“I’ve lost everything,” remarked Kathy Lazar, as she watched the building at Red Flannel Acres being consumed by flames. She didn’t know what she was going to do. She is normally on oxygen, but had left it behind, along with other medical supplies, such as her nebulizer she uses for breathing treatments, when someone knocked on the door of her bottom floor apartment and told her she needed to get out.

Until that moment, she didn’t know the building was on fire. “I could smell smoke in the hallway after I opened the door,” she said.

According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, the call came in at 4:31 that there was smoke in the building, and the second tone said that there were flames showing through the roof.

Post photo by J. Reed

Cedar Springs, Sand Lake, and Solon Fire Departments were on scene, and they called for Sparta’s aerial truck to help douse the flames of the two-story building. Courtland was on standby to take any Cedar Springs calls while they were busy fighting the fire.

Post photo by J. Reed

“I called in Sparta’s aerial truck because we had to do an exterior attack,” explained Fraser. “We couldn’t get inside because we weren’t sure about the integrity of the roof. We couldn’t do much with the hand lines on the ground. If it wasn’t for the aerial, the building would just be a basement,” he added.

Fraser said he thinks the fire might have started on an upper balcony. The state fire marshal will be coming in to help determine the cause of the fire and where it started.

Post photo by J. Reed

The fire was knocked down by 6 p.m., and they then began cleanup and extinguishing hot spots.

Out of the eight apartments, one was vacant. Everyone that was home at the time got out safely. Three cats were also recovered from two different apartments. “They were scared and wet, but they were all alive,” noted Fraser.

He said the building was most likely a total loss. “The roof is gone and the apartments on both floors were damaged with a lot of smoke and water,” he said.

Fraser was appreciative of all the firefighters that fought the fire, directed traffic, etc. “I’d like to thank all the firefighters and their departments that responded with their assistance,” he remarked. “It was hectic and everyone that responded did well and I appreciate it.”

The Springs Church and City Impact stepped up to help families affected by the devastating event, by offering them dinner, a place to go and make phone calls, collect themselves, talk to a social worker, and even sleep. The Red Cross was also on scene.

On Wednesday, City Impact, at 288 North Main, was open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and two other agencies, Lean on Me Outreach and North Kent Connect, were on site there to help provide people with food and other essentials. City Impact is compiling a list of needs and will put that out to the public as soon as it’s ready.

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