Digging for clues

Since it was more than a century and half old, firefighters had extenuating circumstances in battling the blaze that destroyed a Spring Lake home late Sunday.
R.J. Wolcott
Jul 10, 2012


The fire was labor-intensive because of numerous additions and renovations to the house built before the Civil War, said Capt. Brian Sipe of the Spring Lake Fire Department. The fire required several departments and more than 40 firefighters at the scene.

The main problem was the home's dual roof, which fostered the growth of the fire, Sipe said.

On Monday, officials sifted through the house's remains to find the cause. Sipe said the fire started in the area of the exhaust system in the first-floor bathroom.

Firefighters were called to the home of Harold and Ruby Werschem shortly before 11 p.m. Sunday after smoke was spotted seeping through the roof. The Werschems and their son, who lived in the other half of the duplex, evacuated safely and no one was injured, officials said.

The fire was knocked out at about 12:30 a.m. Monday and the scene was cleared at 2:45 a.m.

“Overall, I think our guys did an excellent job, considering the circumstances,” Sipe said.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


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