Two dead in Dowagiac house fire

DOWAGIAC — Two area residents were killed in a house fire Thursday morning.

At 6:54 a.m. Thursday morning, the Dowagiac Fire Department and Wayne Township Fire Department were dispatched to a reported house fire at 310 E. Telegraph in the city of Dowagiac.

The fire department was en route and noted visible fire conditions four blocks away and arrived on scene within three minutes. They reported a working fire with flames visible in the front and left sides of the two-story building as viewed from the street along with possible occupants still in the residence.

Fire crews worked aggressively to enter the structure for search and rescue operations but were slowed by fire involvement and building contents. Firefighting efforts continued and Indian Lake and Sister Lakes Departments were called to assist. Firefighters searched as fire conditions improved and located two victims in an upstairs room. The victims had succumbed to fire conditions.

The State Police Fire Investigation Unit was called as well as the Medical Examiner’s Group from Western Michigan University’s Pathology Department to assist with the investigation. Both victims were taken to the Kalamazoo Pathology Unit for post mortem examinations. Cassopolis Fire was also called and was on standby in the area for additional coverage.

The investigation reveals the fire started on the first floor and spread rapidly in the house and up the stairs blocking the only access. There were no smoke detectors in the residence. Names are being withheld at this time pending family notification and pathology examinations. The cause of the fire per the Fire Investigation Unit is pending at this time but is determined accidental.

Also assisting at the fire was the Dowagiac Police Department, Pokagon Tribal Police, SEMCO Gas, Midwest Energy, and American Electric Power.

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