Blaze damages Grand Haven home

(FULL STORY - Updated 9:40 p.m. Wednesday) Firefighters from several departments battled a New Year’s Day house fire at 300 Arlington on Wednesday evening.
Becky Vargo
Jan 1, 2014


Resident Vicki Pearson said she was taking a bath when the smoke alarms sounded in the small, ranch-style home at the west end of Arlington Street.

Her husband, Terry, and their son, Josh, had gone to get some dinner. The family had just returned from a trip, Vicki said.

“I just got out of the tub and put my robe on,” she said. “I saw smoke everywhere. I saw it was coming from the basement.”

Vicki wrapped a towel around her wet hair and fled out the door, running barefoot through the snow in 14-degree weather to her neighbor’s house.

“She came to my front door, banging,” said next-door neighbor Sue Wronski. “She said, ‘My house is on fire.’"

Pearson called her husband and struggled to call 911 as her fingers wouldn't work properly.

Josh said that when he and his dad returned to the house, they opened the side door and saw nothing but smoke. They grabbed a set of keys to the van and slammed the door. Then they moved the van to another driveway and waited for help.

“I have my phone and the keys to the car and that’s it,” Josh said as he watched firefighters work while he stood in the warmth of a neighbor’s house.

The fire was called in at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday. Grand Haven Department of Public Safety officers arrived to investigate and found flames in the basement. Called in to assist at the scene were Grand Haven Township, Ferrysburg, and Spring Lake fire departments. The Norton Shores canteen also responded.

Two firefighters were checked for possible injuries after flames flared up through the home and they had to quickly evacuate.

“They attempted to make access through the east door and ran into difficulties accessing the stairs, said GHDPS Director Jeff Hawke. “We had growing fire conditions and had to evacuate.”

As flames blazed out the side, the horns were blasted on the nearest fire truck to alert firefighters that conditions were unsafe and to get out of the house.

One fireman fled out the side door, while another smashed a front window and jumped through, assisted to the ground by other firefighters.

Smoke obscured the view, but firefighters quickly rushed to the aid of the fireman who was down on the side steps.

Paramedics checked both firefighters. Hawke said they did not suffer injuries.

The cause of the fire was not immediately available.

Hawke said damage was extensive.

The fire was prounounced out at 9:22 p.m.




Thank God that everyone got out safely. What a scary event. Prayers for the whole family!
I live right down the street and it's 9:30pm and the fire trucks etc., are still down there.


You gotta love the Tribune's promo plug: "We've got reporters at the scene"! WOW! As if their reporter(s) are going to get anywhere near the fire and if they did they wouldn't know what to do. This is the same "Token Plug" all News Media organizations use as if it's suppose to really impress me. If anything, it disgusts me! It's the same thing the "Weather Person" says, "Stay tune to us for breaking weather conditions" when the weather is clear sky, 76 degrees and no weather clouds on the National weather map in sight. And, "Stay right here, there might possibly be perhaps more news about this breaking story and you'll only get from us First! This is why I haven't watched a news story on TV for years and have read very few in the newspaper. Then to top it all off, when writing story's it seems as though they can't help themselves to put in their own two cents worth by giving their own cometary and opinions. Oh how boring it would be for the news Media to simply tell just the "facts" without any of the extra gibberish they feel they must add or nobody will read their stories. Oh how relieving it would be if they just stuck to the facts for once. And, my Pet Peeve, is people who think they have to broadcast to the world that they "send or give their prayers." Do they somehow think by sending thought waves (prayers) out there that the home owners will come back in the morning and their house will be rebuilt? Or their favorite football team will win the game? Or, they will never die? People pray for everything except the one thing that would be the most important thing their is in life, which is, praying for themselves that the next breath of life may be breathed into them so they can experience life. Now that's something worth praying fore if you never prayed again.


Wow Mr. Williams! Are you just having a bad day, because most of your comments have nothing to do with the story. It sure should have been nice to mention something like "I'm glad the residents and firefighters weren't injured." By the way, people of faith have just as much right to say they send prayers or they are praying for them as you do writing your comments. I hope and pray that the rest of 2014 goes better for you.


Mr. Williams, there was a reporter on scene. Becky Vargo arrived about 30 minutes after the initial call came in, as for her being close to the fire. She was in the neighbors driveway as was I before the flames were even coming out of the east side window and door. Ms. Vargo even asked me what was going on when the fire truck was blowing the mayday call from the air horns, little did anyone know there was two firefighters possibly trapped inside the home since the smoke was so heavy at some points. The firefighter that had to bail out the front window had no visibility and his mask was completely covered in soot and ice, though shaken he is lucky to have made it out and ok along with his fellow firefighter. Both of them were overheard saying they could not see a foot in front of their face. From what I saw there may have been a small flash over before the mayday call. I don't see where the Trib put their two cent in anywhere, Ms. Vargo interviewed the homeowner and I feel she did a good job reporting on this fire as it unfolded. If you really stop to think about things, it is a blessing the homeowner made it out safely and neither of the firefighters received any injuries.

Next time before you post something and make a complete azz out of yourself, think about what your saying before you hit the submit button.


I'm glad none of the firefighters were injured. May God bless each and every one of you.


Be assured that God is blessing each and every living Human being on the face of this Earth by each and every breath of life they're given which is the greatest blessing of all.


I remember reading in the GH Tribune last week about the 300 Arlington St. being listed on the unpaid back tax list along with several other non payers.


So what if they were on the list. A lot of people are, their going to do something intentional? Like set fire to the home before they go to get food while the wife is in the shower....Really?

Former Grandhavenite

I'm glad everyone is ok, but the Tribune's coverage including no fewer than three separate stories does seem a bit over the top. I guess we should be glad that Grand Haven is the kind of town where a routine house fire with no injuries is the big news of the day.


Only because Beck Vargo carries a fire pager that the twp fire departments gave her so they could give them the news coverage.


Guess they missed where it reignited overnight and was even bigger causing the house to be declared the house a total loss. Great accuracy there Tribune.


The trib is a heck of a lot more accurate that Wood 8 who said no one was home. As far as the Rekindle, it was after midnight. The last this was updated was at 9:40pm. They were accurate at the time of the article. Great job Trib.


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