A Howard Township family watches from their front yard as their detached garage burns down Thursday. Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT

Archived Story

Seven kids escape Howard Township fire

Published 1:18pm Thursday, November 8, 2012

HOWARD TOWNSHIP — A Howard Township family, including seven children, escaped injury when their detached garage caught fire and burned to the ground Thursday at 3070 Hoyt Rd. in Cass County.

Nick Alkire, a third-grade student at Howard Elementary, was jumping on a trampoline in the backyard around noon when he heard a popping sound coming from the garage.

“I saw smoke come out so I ran to the house to tell everybody,” Alkire said. “I was scared because there were two baby kittens in there. I don’t know what happened (to them).”

Alkire’s father, Matt, 29, removed his seven kids from the house and called 911.

“I ran out and looked inside the back door of the garage and saw there was a huge fire up in the far right corner,” said Matt, who lives in the house with this wife, children and father, Jim Alkire, the homeowner.

Jim and Matt said they have no idea what caused the fire. Matt said the garage was filled with items you’d expect to find in a garage, such as an old lawnmower and two refrigerators.

“I don’t know what happened,” Jim said.

Fire department personnel from Howard Township and Niles Township responded along with the Cass County Sheriff’s Department.

No one was injured, but the garage was a total loss. The house suffered some heat damage.

Matt said the fire comes a little more than a week after his mother-in-law passed away.

“It’s not exactly been a good week and a half,” Matt said.

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