UPDATE: Wayne Township house fire, death investigation ongoing

Published 2:39 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2021

WAYNE TOWNSHIP — The investigation into a Dowagiac man’s death at the scene of a Monday morning house fire is ongoing, according to Captain Tom Jacobs, of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.

Jacobs said the emergency call came in at 11:02 a.m., and police arrived at the home in the 24000 block of Meade Street in Wayne Township at 11:15 a.m.

The Wayne Township Fire Department also arrived on the scene at 11:15 a.m., according to Chief Frank Butts.

As the fire department was extinguishing the fire, the body of Robert Hilliard, 62, of Dowagiac, was found.

“A neighbor heard some type of bang or pop and went outside to find the house engulfed in flames,” Butts said.

The fire damage was too severe to determine if there was a smoke alarm in the home, but the neighbor did not hear one, according to Butts. The cause of the fire is undetermined at this time.

Hilliard was the only resident inside the home at the time of the fire, according to authorities.

Assisting the sheriff’s office were Wayne Township Fire Department, City of Dowagiac Fire Department, Decatur Fire Department, Pride Care Ambulance Service, and the Michigan State Police Fire Investigation Unit.