Fire on Grand River island

Firefighters kayaked across Lost Channel to battle a wildfire on an island in the Grand River on Saturday night.
Tribune Staff
Jul 2, 2012

The blaze attracted attention across the river as area residents parked their cars along Boom Road in Spring Lake Township to watch.

Grand Haven Township Fire/Rescue and Robinson Township Fire Department responded to the call at about 9:27 p.m. near the north end of 152nd Ave in Grand Haven Township.

Emergency responders gained access to the area after cutting down a guardrail and walking down a two-track on foot where they saw a fire burning a 50-by-70-foot area, said Firefighter/Paramedic Matt Schweitzer.

Low water levels prevented a boat from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department from gaining access to the fire. A Grand Haven Township firefighter retrieved his personal kayak from home, which was used to shuttle equipment, and personnel to the island, Schweitzer said.

The fire spread to cover a 200-by-200-foot area. Emergency personnel cleared the scene shortly after midnight.

It is unknown if fireworks were the cause of Saturday’s fire, although fireworks were heard and seen as crews worked to extinguish the fire, Schweitzer said.

Fire crews responded to another call about the island smoldering late Sunday.

Jimmy Porter of Grand Haven said everything was peaceful and serene in that area when he went fishing on Saturday morning.

When he returned Sunday morning “it was a mess,” he said.

“Whoever done it had to be an adolescent,” Porter guessed. “It’s a shame. Whoever done this was pretty careless.”

Jason Mazzole of Ferrysburg was also fishing in the channel with his two daughters, Jasmine, 9, and Anna Marie, 6 on Sunday.

Mazzole said he was telling his daughters about the area where he used to fish as a kid and how, at one time, there was a bridge for the cows to go across and graze on the island.

He was surprised to see a big area of that former grazing land to be a charred mess. “It had to have been someone using fireworks,” he said.

The forecast for the area continues to be hot and dry.

Schweitzer said Grand Haven Township Fire/Rescue encourages everyone to be careful, as conditions are perfect for wildfire conditions.

 

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