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Spring Lake Twp. home damaged by chimney fire

Becky Vargo • Dec 28, 2015 at 5:49 PM

SPRING LAKE TWP. — Firefighters from four area departments responded to a house fire shortly after 2 p.m. Monday at a home in Pine Bluff Estates, on the northeast side of Stahl’s Bayou.

Spring Lake Township Fire Chief Brian Sipe said a chimney fire got into the walls and attic of the home belonging to Rich and Barb Cook, 7397 W. Pine Bluff Road. The family safely evacuated the house and nobody was injured.

Firefighters had to open the wall in at least one bedroom to get to the fire in the chimney. Sipe said there was also smoke and water damage in the house, but he did not have details on the full extent of the damage.

A little over an hour after the initial response, Sipe said the fire was out. Firefighters still had to remove smoldering insulation from the attic to make sure the winds did not whip up the fire again.

Firefighters initially responded to the home at about 11 a.m. after the homeowner reported the stack on the wood stove in the kitchen turning bright red. Barb Cook said she shut down the wood stove as much as she could and the stack started to cool off.

Firefighters went through the entire house with a thermal imaging camera and only left after it appeared everything was cooling down, Barb said.

A couple of hours later, Barb said she was getting ready to take a nap and her daughter, Cory, was leaving the house. Just before she left, Cory went into her bedroom and noticed a crackling sound. She also saw the paint begin to blister on the wall.

Barb said she ran upstairs and found the walls almost too hot to touch. She ran outside and noticed a large amount of smoke coming from the chimney.

“I’ve lived here 25 years and this is the first time I’ve ever called the fire department,” she said.

Rich Cook said the chimney had just been cleaned a little more than a month ago. He noted they had been heating the house with the wood stove for many years.

Sipe said the strong winds could have something to do with causing the fire, which remains under investigation.

Ferrysburg, Crockery and Fruitport fire departments assisted Spring Lake firefighters at the scene.

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