FENWICK — A fire that started in a nearby garage completely destroyed the uninsured home and three-story garage of Tohm Tyler at 10275 S. Cedar Lake Road in Fenwick on Saturday afternoon.
According to Sheridan Community Fire Department Fire Chief Doug Lane, the house and garage fires were fully involved by the time firefighters arrived on the scene, around 2:59 p.m.
“(Tyler) lives right on a lake, so water wasn’t a problem,” Lane said. “It’s just that the fire had such a big start time and our response time is affected because his property is on the outer edge of our coverage area.”
To mitigate the distance problem, Lane contacted the Ronald Township Fire Department, which is much closer to Tyler’s property, before leaving the station. Firefighters from Ronald Township arrived first on the scene and were already engaging the fire when Sheridan firefighters showed up.
“We worked on the fire for about four hours before we got everything back in place,” Lane said.
Lost in the fire was a portable sawmill, several vehicles, many tools and the entire comments of Tyler’s home. According to Lane, most of the structures and their contents were a total loss, however he thinks the sawmill might still be usable after repairs. Also, a lot of equipment located on the north side of the garage was saved.
The Sheridan Community Fire Department was also assisted at the scene by the Crystal Township Fire Department, Carson City Fire Department, the Michigan State Police and Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services.
“Everyone did a great job,” Lane said. “But the EMS people did excellent work making sure the firefighters were OK. They checked blood pressure of the firefighters and made sure they weren’t getting overheated.”
Tyler, who has been unemployed for more than two years, had no insurance on the home, contents or vehicles. Lane contacted the Red Cross to help assist Tyler with temporary living conditions and other necessities.