by Peter Jakey-Managing Editor
The home of a Millersburg couple was severely damaged in a weekend fire. The Case Township Fire Department had only a few blocks to travel inside the village limits to respond.
The initial call (6:09 p.m.) to Presque Isle County central dispatch reported visible flames coming from the one-story structure, which is the second to last house on Gardner Street. Crews were on scene at 6:11 with mutual assistance on the way from the Onaway Fire Department.
“There were visible flames on the north and the east side of the structure,” said CTFD chief Steve Northrop. “They were coming through the window and the eaves.”
Homeowners Earl and Shannon Ford were the only occupants and got out with no injuries.
“I talked with them as the crew was getting set for an exterior attack of the structure,” said Northrop. “After we knocked down the flames on the exterior and made it safe to go inside, we put out the rest of the flames inside.”
Crews were clear of the scene about 8 p.m., but the fire rekindled during the night and they had to return the next morning.
“We used our thermal imaging camera throughout the house to see if there were any hot spots in it; however, there were multiple ceiling lines that included a corrugated steel ceiling line that made it difficult to track it down. On top of that, each level of ceiling had insulation in it so it is possible that the insulation started it back up.”
Northrop said it did not take long to knock down the flames of the restart.
The Fords lost two dogs in the initial fire.
A propane heater in the crawl space is a possible cause; however, it still remains under investigation. “The origin of the fire looks like it came out of the northeast side of the house, possibly from the floor,” said Northrop.
There were 13 fire fighters from CTFD and Onaway brought four. They used 10,000 to 15,000 gallons of water on the initial fire. The Red Cross assisted the Fords with money for a motel room in Rogers City. The couple had the house insured. Also assisting was the Presque Isle County Sheriff’s Department.