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Leader photos/TED YOAKUM. Firefighters from three different Niles fire departments fought both flames and snow while putting out a residential fire Thursday afternoon.
Leader photos/TED YOAKUM. Firefighters from three different Niles fire departments fought both flames and snow while putting out a residential fire Thursday afternoon.

Archived Story

Niles home likely lost in fire

Published 5:50pm Thursday, January 9, 2014

Firefighters from three different local fire departments contended for more than an hour with a fire that broke out on 17th Street in Niles Thursday afternoon.

According to Niles Township Fire Chief Gary Brovold, the department first received a call from a bystander about a fire at 2331 17th St. at 3:15 p.m. Responding to the fire were firefighters with Niles Township, Niles City and Clay Township.

The man living in the residence, Don Hodges, reported to authorities that the fire broke out in the basement, Brovold said. While Hodges was able to make it out of his home without sustaining injury, Brovold said the home is likely lost.

“I would rate it as a total loss just because of the heat and smoke,” Brovold said.

Bob Ewing, who lives next door to Hodges, said he noticed the fire break out around the time that firefighters arrived on the scene.

“I saw there were a bunch of vehicles lined up outside my house,” he said. “At first I thought someone had hit a deer or something before I saw all the smoke.”

Ewing, who has lived next door to Hodges for more than 20 years, said that his neighbor owned a dog, which also escaped the fire unscathed, he said.

Ewing said that in the years he’s lived in the neighborhood, the only time he has seen a fire like this was more than 10 years ago, when a home across from Fulkerson Park burned down on Christmas Eve.

In addition, medics with the Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance were also on hand at the scene. Authorities blocked off the intersection of 17th and Fulkerson while firefighters battled the blaze.

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