Five area fire departments respond to Dowagiac house fire

Crews from five different local fire departments were dispatched to the scene of a house fire on Pokagon Street in the city of Dowagiac Tuesday night, according to a release from the Dowagiac Fire Department.

Firefighters with the Dowagiac department were dispatched to a report of a house fire in the 300 block of Pokagon Street, after receiving an alarm at 7:39 p.m. The first engine arrived on scene at 7:43 p.m., with firefighters discovering heavy smoke showing from the attic area of the unoccupied home. Fire crews searched to ensure no one was inside the residence, and attempted to locate and gain access to the fire on the inside of the structure.

Due to the amount of fire in the home, indicated by smoke conditions, a Mutual Aid Box alarm was struck less than a minute after arrival of the engine. The box alarm brought out crews from both Indian Lake Volunteer Fire Department and Wayne Township Fire Department. An additional engine was eventually requested from both Pokagon Volunteer Fire Department and Sister Lakes Volunteer Fire Department.

The fire was difficult to extinguish due to the layout of the attic area, extreme fire load and continual weakening of the structure. The house suffered heavy fire damage throughout the attic and upstairs area. The rest of the home suffered from heavy water damage.

The fire was eventually declared under control at 9:32 p.m. and fire crews finally cleared the scene at 11:53 p.m. One firefighter sustained a minor burn injury during the call and was evaluated on scene by PrideCare Ambulance. No further medical treatment was required.

While the cause of the fire remains under investigation, it does appear that it was accidental. According to the department, the fire appeared to have started outside the home, before extending up into the attic area.

In addition to the above fire departments, Dowagiac Fire Department was assisted on scene by officers of the Dowagiac Police Department and the Pokagon Band Tribal Police Department. Also assisting on scene were medics from PrideCare Ambulance, service personnel from SEMCO Energy and line crew personnel from the Dowagiac Department of Public Services.

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