New details emerge in Dowagiac house fire

Published 8:00 am Friday, May 20, 2016

A Dowagiac home suffered irreparable damage following an electrical fire that consumed the property Wednesday evening.

Crews with Wayne Township and Dowagiac fire departments were dispatched to a reported blaze at a home on 55678 Davis Lane, near Nubour Road in Wayne Township around 7:50 p.m. Upon arrival, crews discovered that a fire had engulfed the entire residence, said Dowagiac Deputy Fire Chief Guy Evans.

“The fire had spread throughout the house and up to the attic,” Evans said. “When we arrived we saw flames jutting up through the roof in certain portions.”

Crews began extinguishing the fire from the outside before entering the house. Firefighters with both departments got the blaze under control around 8:45 p.m., with crews from Indian Lake Fire Department arriving to assist with putting out hotspots around the residence.

In spite of its size, there were no injuries as a result of the fire, with firefighters confirming no one was inside during a sweep of the house. Despite worries from family members, the woman who normally resides at the residence was not present inside the home at the time as she was staying in another home, said Frank Butts with the Wayne Township Fire Department.

“We’re grateful that no one was hurt,” Butts said.

Crews with all three local departments cleared the scene around 11:30 p.m.

A subsequent investigation of the home by Dowagiac and Wayne Township crews Thursday morning revealed the likely cause of the fire was a shortage of some electrical wiring in one of the family rooms of the residence, where an entertainment center was located. The fire grew to such intense proportions due to the explosion of several oxygen tanks used by the resident of the home, which fueled the flames, Butts said.

The home is considered a total loss, with massive damage to its interior and exterior as a result of the fire, Butts said.

The incident served as the first incident in the new dual-covered fire district established by the township and the city in 2014 as part of the expansion of the city’s water system into portions of the township near Nubour Road. An alarm was dispatched to both township and city fire departments simultaneously, with crews with both entities arriving within three minutes of the call, Butts said.

“Dispatch went exactly the way we wanted it to, the way it was set up,” Butts said. “Crews with both fire stations responded at the same time. Everyone worked excellent together.”

Assisting firefighters at the scene were officers with the Dowagiac Police Department and crews with Pride Care Ambulance Service.