FAIRPLAIN TOWNSHIP — A wood stove is believed to have started a house fire Wednesday evening that destroyed a home along W. Carson City Road (M-57), closing traffic on the busy stretch of highway for several hours as firefighters fought the blaze.
Homeowners Leroy and Betty Jones were able to escape safely from their residence at 4891 W. Carson City Road with their two dogs, but lost everything else inside the home to fire, including two cats.
“I was outside gathering wood when it started,” Leroy Jones said. “There was a spark and then it lit up just like gasoline. Everything was so dry, and there was a lot of wood stacked up inside.”
Jones said there was little time to react before his home caught fire.
According to Sheridan Community Fire Chief Ed Lingeman, firefighters were dispatched at 5:28 p.m. to a call from a passing motorist who spotted the home ablaze.
Upon arrival, Lingeman said the fire was fully involved as he called for mutual aid from four other fire departments.
“When we arrived on scene, it was totally involved,” he said. “The main difficulty was the roof. With multiple additions and several layers and steel on top of it, which is holding the fire inside.”
Firefighters from the Sheridan Community, Crystal Township, Ronald Township, Montcalm Township and Greenville Department of Public Safety battled the flames for six hours as a stretch of W. Carson City Road was closed down for several hours.
“It’s a complete loss,” Lingeman said. “We couldn’t send anybody inside. There was no way to vent this fire, which is making it difficult to put out.”
Tankers trucks gathered water from hydrants in Greenville, about four miles away west of the home.
Lingeman said the fire remains under investigation, but is not suspicious in nature.
Leroy Jones said he and his wife had lived in the home for 41 years, but it was not insured, and would appreciate any donations of food or clothing.
They will be staying with their daughter, Venessa Marr, in the meantime. She can be reached at (616) 490-2408.
“We’re all safe, that’s the main thing,” Leroy Jones said.
The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Department and Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services assisted on scene.