Mother, son, escape Fenwick house fire safely

Posted by Cory Smith • Last Updated 3:18 pm on Thursday, November 01 2012

Firefighters from the Sheridan Community and Ronald Township Volunteer fire departments battle a fire Thursday morning east of Fenwick. The home was a complete loss. — Daily News/Cory Smith


BUSHNELL TOWNSHIP — A mother and son are safe after a fire that started in a pump room spread to and consumed their home east of Fenwick on Thursday morning.

The Sheridan Community and Ronald Township fire departments were dispatched at 9:53 a.m. to 4874 E. Cole Road in response to a structure fire.

Melissa Onan and her 8-year-old son, Travis, quickly escaped the home after Onan discovered the fire in a pump room near the garage attached to the home when she opened the door and was overwhelmed with smoke.

“The fire started in the back of the house, but we were in the front,” she said. “We both made it out OK.”

After battling the fire for two hours, Sheridan Fire Chief Doug Lane said there was little to salvage of the home, calling it a “complete loss.”

A purple teddybear soaked in water lays covered in leaves as firefighters battle a structure fire at 4874E. Cole road near Fenwick Thursday morning. Eight-year-old Travis Onan, and his mother, Melissa, made it safely out of the house. — Daily News/Cory Smith

According to Lane, the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but early signs point to an electrical issue beginning in the pump room near the garage.

“There will be more investigating on (the cause of the fire), but it sounds like it was an electrical issue starting near the garage,” Lane said. “The garage was pretty much gone when we got on scene.”

Lane said because of the distance of the home from the fire department, about 12 miles, the Ronald Township Fire Department, which is only two miles away, was immediately dispatched by Sheridan in order to have a quicker presence on scene.

“Our biggest thing for us when battling a fire like this is having a quick response,” Lane said. “With Ronald (Township) that close, it makes a big difference. They help us out a lot in some of the outer edges of our coverage area.”

Lane said when the first responder from Ronald Township arrived on scene, the garage was fully involved and the fire was just beginning to spread to the house.

No one was injured on scene and about 10,000 gallons of water were used while battling the fire.

Onan said her family had just remodeled the bathroom and had a new well installed near the home.

“I don’t know,” she said of the cause of the fire. “We had a new well put in recently and the fire started in the pump room. The breakers had just blown before the fire started so that might have had something to do with it.”

According to Lane, Onan and her family have insurance and have family nearby.

“It’s a big plus when you’ve got family nearby you can stay with,” Lane said. “These are tragic times for families that have to go through this.”

Onan said the family’s dogs made it safely out of the house, however, not all of the family’s cats have been accounted for.

Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services assisted on scene.

Two firefighters with the Ronald Township Volunteer Fire Department work together to spray water into a home near Fenwick to extinguish a fire Thursday morning. — Daily News/Cory Smith

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