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Quick response saves North Shore homes from dunes fire

Becky Vargo • Apr 29, 2018 at 3:21 PM

A North Shore Estates resident said it was gratifying and impressive to see how fast firefighters responded to a Sunday afternoon dune fire that threatened several homes along the Lake Michigan beach.

“This is very scary for everybody,” she said as a group of residents watched the firefighters stop the southward progress of the blaze. 

Spring Lake Township firefighters responded to the 18000 block of North Shore Estates when a resident called to say the dune grass was on fire and a deck was starting to burn.

Firefighters arriving after the 1:25 p.m. call immediately summoned mutual aid from Grand Haven, Ferrysburg and Crockery Township because fire in the dunes was quickly approaching five homes in the area.

The fire actually consumed about three quarters of an acre.

Spring Lake Fire Chief Brian Sipe said they also requested departments from Muskegon County, but that they were busy on their own fires.

Sipe said the fire started next to 18085 North Shore Estates as the result of a fire set in a fire pit too close to the dune grass. Strong winds pushed the fire through the dry dune grass, burned parts of some decks and melted siding.

“Numerous homes had deck and retaining wall damage and a couple of the homes had direct damage from the fire,” Sipe said. “No preliminary damage estimate is available at this time.”

Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading from the decks to the homes, Sipe said. The main body of the fire was out within 40 minutes. Firefighters remained on the scene soaking down the area and putting out hot spots well after 3 p.m.

Dense smoke spread throughout the area and was visible along North Shore Road approaching the beach.

This story will be updated when more information is available.

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