SPENCER TOWNSHIP – A woman and children at a Gowen-area daycare escaped a fire through the basement after the blaze broke through the attic and ground level of the house Tuesday afternoon.
Spencer Township Fire Chief Alan Wright said firefighters responded to the fire around 5:20 p.m. at 13225 17 Mile Road.
“I believe there were three kids from the daycare at the time of the fire,” Wright said. “Two were picked up just before the fire.”
Wright said homeowner and daycare operator Kimberly Brown was having problems with lights in the basement and went upstairs to grab lightbulbs. After replacing the bulbs, she flipped the switch and nothing happened. Brown then went to check her circuit breaker.
After about 10 or 15 minutes, Wright said Brown heard popping noises and went back upstairs where she saw smoke and flames near the ceiling.
“The kids exited through the basement so they did not have to go up through the house where the fire was,” Wright said.
Brown received burns to her arms and back, which Wright said he believed happen when Brown tried to get items out of her garage. Brown refused medical attention at the scene and said she would seek it on her own.
Firefighters were at the scene for about three hours Tuesday, according to Wright. He estimates about $160,000 of damage was done to the attic and main floor of the house. The basement received mostly water damage.
“It was a total loss,” Wright said.
Wright said a cat was unable to escape the home during the fire.
Brown could not be reached for comment. Wright said Brown’s cell phone burned in the fire.
Wright said he believes the fire was an electrical fire that began in the attic, but a state fire marshal will visit the scene today to determine an official cause of the fire.
Montcalm Township and Oakfield Township fire departments assisted Spencer Township Fire Department along with an Algoma Township air truck.