MONTCALM TOWNSHIP — A house that is home to five Montcalm Township residents is still standing today thanks to fortunate timing and a closed door that prevented a bedroom fire from spreading.
Firefighters from the Montcalm Township Fire Department were dispatched at 1:56 p.m. Monday to 2075 Fitzner Road. Upon arrival, firefighters found a small fire contained to an upstairs bedroom that was extinguished immediately with minimal damage to the home.
“We kept it contained to the bedroom,” Fire Chief Clif Dickinson said. “It was a pile of rubble laying underneath the window that caught on fire somehow. We put two guys in there and they had that fire out as soon as they opened the door and entered the room.”
No one was home at the time of the fire. Dickinson said resident Mike Bolen, 21, arrived home shortly after the fire had started.
“The homeowner getting home when he did, that’s the main factor,” Dickinson said. “Another five minutes and this would have been a whole different story.”
Dickinson said the fire was likely an accident, citing the cause to be electrical.
“At this point after cleaning up the rubble, we ripped up some of the floorboards and found burning debris burning underneath,” he said. “It appears to be electrical at this point. There was an electrical extension cord found within the burnt rubble. It was an accident.”
Stanton Community and Spencer Township fire departments were called automatically for mutual aid, but were disregarded after Dickinson and his department arrived on scene.
Fire Capt. Duane Peterman said the homeowners can be thankful that the bedroom door was closed.
“The door was closed in the bedroom which preserved the oxygen in the room and contained the fire,” he said. “Doors can be a big savior, and in this case the door was.”
Bolen said he entered the home after heard the smoke detector going off. He then proceeded upstairs to find the second story filled with smoke.
“By that time I couldn’t breathe, there was just too much smoke,” he said.
He then called 911 to report the fire.
Bolen was treated for smoke inhalation but said he will be OK.
Neighbor Todd Norman ran over as soon as he saw the first fire truck arrive.
“These guys are family. It’s my nephew’s house,” he said. “We’re very thankful that no one was here and got seriously hurt.”
The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office and Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services assisted on scene.