Firefighters battle 5-hour blaze in Pierson (Video and Photos)


Posted by Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 11:16 am on Thursday, February 09 2012

PIERSON — Multiple fire departments battled a blaze for at least five hours Wednesday morning in downtown Pierson.

Randy and Denise Granger’s home at 321 Amy School Road just off Federal and Stanton roads was left in shambles after a fire raged through the 22-room old farmhouse.

Sand Lake Fire Department Capt. Eric Hayden was the first to respond to the scene at 7:11 a.m.

“When our first officer got the scene, it was already fully involved and flames were coming through the roof,” said Fire Chief Ed Holtzlander.

Sand Lake was soon assisted by Cedar Springs, Howard City and Spencer Township fire departments. Montcalm County Emergency Services was also at the scene.

The home had been remodeled extensively and had numerous ceilings.

“Every time they’d knock it down, it flared back up,” Holtzlander said.

Howard City firefighters eventually called in their ladder truck to battle the blaze from above. Howard City’s Bill Cornelisse manned the ladder truck while Howard City’s Joe Cornelisse and Howard City Assistant Fire Chief Keith Grannis took turns spraying the fire from the top of the ladder.

Dean’s Excavating in Sand Lake later was brought in to knock down the home’s walls to fully extinguish the fire. Firefighters cleared the scene at 1:31 p.m.

Holtzlander said a large burned area was found around the chimney and that’s where the fire is believed to have originated.

“We’ve got a pretty good idea that’s where it started,” he said.

Grannis said Wednesday morning’s blaze was one of the more frustrating fires he’s battled in a while.

“It was a difficult fire to attack,” he said. “That fire got in places that were just impossible to put out. It’s hard to attack a fire when you don’t know exactly where it is. Many of the walls in the home weren’t insulated so they basically served for the fire to run up the full length of the walls.”

The Grangers were able to salvage some items from their home before fleeing for safety. Denise Granger said the home is insured.

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