Fenwick house fire being investigated as ‘suspicious’

Posted by Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:39 am on Friday, March 29 2013

A fire that occurred at 1680 W. Boyer Road on Friday morning will be investigated by the state fire marshal It was the DeGram family’s fifth house fire. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

FAIRPLAIN TOWNSHIP — A Friday morning blaze was the fifth house fire for the DeGram family and is now under investigation by the state fire marshal.

The Sheridan Community Fire Department was dispatched at 8:47 a.m. to 1680 W. Boyer Road in Fenwick. The house was a total loss.

“It was pretty much gone when we arrived,” said Fire Chief Ed Lingeman.

The house was in the midst of being remodeled by Garret and Mary DeGram, who lost everything in a previous house fire early the morning of Jan. 21. The cause of that fire was undetermined, but was thought to be electrical.

The DeGrams were staying in an addition built onto their garage while re-constructing their house. The garage sustained minor damage in Friday’s fire.

Neighbors said they heard explosions coming from the area of the house Friday morning. Garret DeGram said oxygen tanks and a gas can were inside the house and were being used in the remodeling processes.

According to Lingeman, the DeGrams had two or three fires at a house on Derby Road in addition to the two fires at the house on Boyer Road.

“It is suspicious because of the number of fires (the family) has had,” Lingeman said of Friday’s fire.

A fire marshal will be at the scene of the fire to investigate the situation on Monday.

Sheridan Community Fire Department Fire Chief Ed Lingeman talks with homeowner Mary DeGram, center, and her daughter Lacey Smith, at left, both of whom were emotional after a Friday morning fire destroyed DeGram’s home. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

The DeGrams said they were not home at the time of the fire because they felt threatened and thought “something was going to happen.” Mary DeGram said her family had received threats over a dispute they were having with people from out of town. She said suspicious events had taken place Thursday night near their home.

“I was scared,” Mary DeGram said. “I thought something was going to happen, so I took my dogs and went to my daughter’s house in Greenville. I think someone intentionally did it.”

The DeGrams hope they are able to get some answers after the investigation is completed.

“I think we have an enemy,” Garret DeGram said. “I do want this fully investigated.”

The house was not insured and the family is not sure where they are going to go as money and resources are limited. However, friends and family at the scene were offering a helping hand to help get the DeGrams back on their feet.

The Sheridan Community Fire Department was assisted by the Greenville Department of Public Safety, Ronald Township Fire Department and Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services.

A Sheridan Community Fire Department firefighter rests on the ground in the aftermath of a Fenwick house fire Friday morning. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

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