2018-02-08 / Front Page

Family escapes early-morning blaze

810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

SWARTZ CREEK – A Swartz Creek family narrowly escaped an early-morning house fire over the weekend.

Fire Chief Dave Plumb said the blaze erupted in the garage at the home on Birchcrest and Oakview drives. Firefighters were called to the scene at 1:55 a.m. Saturday, he said.

Due to the extent of the damage, firefighters were unable to determine the cause of the fire that caused extensive damage, Plumb said.

“The homeowner said he was awakened by popping sounds that sounded like hail hitting the roof,” the chief said. “He looked out and saw flames coming out of the garage and he was able to get his family out safely.

“They were very fortunate. The smoke detectors hadn’t even gone off yet because there was no smoke in the house.”

The flames were eating through the wall between the garage and the interior stairs when the homeowner wakened.

“If they hadn’t discovered it until the smoke detectors went off, it might have been too late,” said Plumb. “They would have had a difficult time getting down the stairs if he hadn’t gotten them out when he did.”

The family, which includes a 3-year-old and a 5-month-old who was asleep in a room on the opposite said of the stairway, is staying with relatives while they work with their insurance providers, the chief said. He did not know of any fundraisers or other collections being set up to assist the family.

The fire rendered the garage and family room unsalvageable; the rest of the house sustained extensive smoke and water damage. There was no damage to neighboring properties.

The Swartz Creek Area Fire Department received mutual aid from the Flushing and Gaines Township fire departments, with additional assistance from the Metro Police Authority and MMR Ambulance, Plumb said.

Genesee County property records show that the house, at 5260 Birchcrest, is owned by Jason and Katherine Keene.

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