Fenwick couple loses everything in house fire


By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:35 am on Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A house at 1680 W. Boyer Road in Fairplain Township suffered severe damage after the structure caught fire Monday morning. Garret and Mary DeGram, who were living in the home, lost everything in the fire. — Daily News/Cory Smith

FAIRPLAIN TOWNSHIP — A couple in Fairplain Township lost everything in an early morning fire on Monday.

According to Sheridan Community Fire Department Chief Doug Lane, the department responded to a structure fire early Monday morning at 1680 W. Boyer Road in Fenwick.

Although the house was owned by Wayne Baker, Garret and Mary DeGram were living in the house.

“It was pretty severe,” Lane said of the fire damage. “Most of the damage was to the interior of the house.”

However, the fire department had to add ventilation to the house, causing exterior damage as well.

The fire started in the bedroom and spread through the rest of the house, Lane said, but the cause of the fire is undetermined.

“We suspect that it was electrical,” he said of the fire, noting the DeGrams were in the processes of upgrading the electrical and had prior issues with it.

The DeGrams were in the process of redoing the whole house as Lane said it needed a lot of work.

No one was hurt during the fire, but a cat is missing. Lane said it is unclear if the cat was in the house during the time of the fire.

This is not the first time the DeGrams have experienced such a loss, Lance said. At their previous residence, the couple had two or three fires over a few years.

“They have had a string of bad luck,” Lane said. “We don’t suspect anything (suspicious), they have just had bad luck.”

Because the house was not insured by either the DeGrams or Baker, Lane said it is hard to declare if the house was a total loss.

He explained in other cases, this amount of damage probably would have caused him to declare it as a total loss. However, because of the lack of insurance, Lane said it is hard to determine if it is.

He is not sure if the DeGrams or Baker will want to rebuild in the future.

Sheridan Community Fire Department was assisted by Greenville Department of Public Safety and Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services.

The Red Cross was called in to assist the DeGrams.

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