EUREKA TOWNSHIP — A swift response time followed by quick thinking by firefighters Tuesday afternoon may have saved a Eureka Township man’s business from burning down before his eyes.
Denny Craycraft was on his way to Belding when he received a call from his wife, Ruth Craycraft, to return to his home at 11692 Youngman Road because his son’s truck was on fire.
By the time Craycraft returned home, the fire had been extinguished by his son, Bill Craycraft, though it had left visible damage to the inside of the 1998 Dodge Durango.
But not long after extinguishing the small fire, Denny Craycraft heard the truck’s horn begin to blare while he was working in the garage.
When he stepped outside he discovered his son’s truck was completely engulfed in flames.
At approximately 4 p.m., Ruth Craycraft called 911 and eight minutes later officers and firefighters from the Greenville Department of Public Safety arrived. They were able to extinguish the blaze and prevent it from spreading to the nearby garage and barn in the process.
Bill Craycraft’s truck was parked less than five feet from the garage and attached barn, which housed more than $30,000 worth of equipment, a majority of it directly related to the father and son chimney sweep business, Craft Chimney Sweeps.
Denny Craycraft said he believes he and his son would have lost their livelihood had emergency responders not acted as quickly as they did.
“I could’ve sworn the building was going to go,” Denny Craycraft said. “Another 10 or 15 minutes and I would have lost everything.”
Craycraft and his son attempted to keep the garage wet with a garden hose and move the vehicle away from the garage with chains before emergency responders arrived, but neither attempt was successful.
The vehicle was too hot to move and the garage sustained heat damage as the door buckled, a window shattered and wall insulation melted on the inside of the garage.
Once emergency responders arrived on scene, Craycraft said he was able to breath a sigh of relief.
“It was chaotic and frantic and I’ve never seen a fire take off as quick as that did,” he said. “I now have a whole new admiration for those boys. If they need their chimneys cleaned, just give me a call. These guys don’t get enough thanks for what they do.”
Greenville Sgt. Brian Blomstrom credited the successful “knock down” of the fire to on-duty public safety officers Chad Aniszko, Jeff Haynes, and Jamie Sorsen and firefighter Marcus Roy, all of whom responded.
“Those guys got there, told me what they had going, and made some very quick and decisive decisions,” Blomstrom said. “It makes my job easier as incident commander when those guys perform as well as they did.”
Blomstrom also credited the amount of training put in by the department’s officers and firefighters.
“It’s a great feeling to see that aggressive training and knowledge in firefighting itself help save his business and home life,” Blomstrom said. “It’s a great morale booster for the department. It exemplifies why we train as much as what we do.”
According to Blomstrom, the cause of he fire is “undetermined at this time,” though Craycraft said he believes the fire was caused by an electrical problem with the truck’s heater fan.