Wood stove likely cause of Wednesday morning Orleans Township house fire


By Cory Smith • Last Updated 11:13 am on Thursday, December 12, 2013

A house fire Wednesday morning at 3275 Dick Road in Orleans Township was likely caused by a wood stove in the rear of the home. — Daily News/Cory Smith

ORLEANS TOWNSHIP — Firefighters from four departments worked together Wednesday morning in freezing conditions to extinguish a house fire after a hunter in the woods spotted smoke and flames coming from a residence on Dick Road.

The Orleans Township Fire Department was dispatched to the fully involved structure fire at 3275 Dick Road, south of Peterson Road, at 8:02 a.m.

One resident was home at the time of the fire, but was able to escape without injury.

Firefighters work together to create an opening with an ax and chainsaw on the roof of an Orleans Township home that caught fire Wednesday morning. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Orleans Township Fire Chief Leslie Doty immediately called for mutual aid from the Ronald Township Fire Department as well as the Ionia Department of Public Safety.

Moments later, Doty requested more assistance from the Belding Fire Department, as he said flames were shooting up from the rear of the home when he arrived on scene.

“The southwest corner of the home, back where the wood stove is, was engulfed in fire,” he said. “We’re assuming (the fire was started) by the wood stove, but I don’t know for sure yet.”

Firefighters were able to contain most of the damage from the fire to the area of the home around the wood stove, a 10-by-10-foot addition to the home.

Doty said many of the items in the home would be salvageable as firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading throughout the majority of the home, though Doty said the home itself was likely a total loss.

Doty said he immediately called in mutual aid from other departments due to poor road conditions and cold weather.

“The way the weather is, we had to call in multiple departments,” he said. “The roads are bad and it’s very cold. Everything stiffens up on you and it’s hard getting around, but we manage. We really appreciate the mutual aid from other departments at times like this.”

Doty said the fire is not being ruled suspicious.

Firefighters remove debris from a wood stove, which likely started a fire that left the home severely damaged by fire. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Homeowner Janet Brown was working in Ionia when she received a call from her supervisor informing her that her home was on fire.

Her son Ryan Cunningham, 17, was in school, but his father, Marty Cunningham, who has been staying at the home temporarily, had been sleeping in the home when the fire started.

Brown’s three cats and one dog all survived the fire.

“Those are my babies,” Brown said. “I’m so glad they are safe.”

Brown said the home was insured and also that her family has a place to stay nearby with her mother.

The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office and Life EMS also assisted on scene.

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