Muskegon County man dies after fire

Investigators said a Muskegon County man escaped a fire, but died of an apparent heart attack soon after. Around 4 p.m. Saturday, firefighters from Holton Township were called to the 7100 block of Holton-Duck Lake Road. When they arrived, they found a garage on fire and flames spreading to the house. They also found the homeowner, 58-year-old Earl Nickels, on the ground. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Jul 17, 2011


"We had understood from some of the neighbors that there was an explosion," Holton Fire Chief Art Stevens said. "And apparently some people had said that they were working in the garage on a vehicle and had an explosion, and the fire erupted from that."

Stevens said a welder left on in the garage started the fire.

Nickels and his family were in the house at the time. They got out safely, but Nickels collapsed by the road.

His stepson, John Talley, went to the hospital for observation. Doctors have released him.

Crews called in help from five other departments because of the heat.


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