Garages destroyed, home damaged in multi-alarm rural fire

Becky Vargo • Dec 5, 2015 at 2:32 PM

SULLIVAN TWP. — Fire destroyed what amounted to a five-stall garage and at least half of a home in the 5,000 block of South Hilton Park Road Saturday morning.

The first Fruitport Township firefighters on the scene rescued a dog from the house, said Chief Ken Doctor. Nobody else was home at the time.

Homeowners Steve and Anita Yonkman said they were thankful the firefighters were able to rescue their pet – a boxer named Sierra – and that they were able to stop the fire from destroying their entire home.

The dog was coughing and was taken to a veterinarian in Grand Rapids to make sure she was all right, Anita said.

Steve Yonkman said he and a friend left the house just before 8 a.m. to attend an auction. He said his wife left a short time later to go to a bazaar and everything was OK at the time.

Firefighters responded to 5815 S. Hilton Park Road (which is 120th Avenue in Ottawa County) just south of Sternberg Road shortly after 9 a.m.

The garage was fully involved in fire and burning into the house when they arrived, Doctor said. The fire appeared to have started in the area of a woodstove located in a shed between the two, 2-stall garages.

All of the garages were attached, Steve Yonkman said.

The homeowner noted that he lost a motorcycle, tractors and “lots and lots of tools” in the fire.

The front of his friend’s pickup truck was also melted. It was parked next to the garage.

All of the garages burned almost to the grand and there was fire damage to at least 50 percent of the house, Doctor said. Firefighters had to knock out most of the windows to get heat and smoke out of the house.

Norton Shores Fire and Norton Shores 450 Canteen, as well as Egelston and Crockery township fire departments assisted Fruitport Fire Department at the scene.

The Fruitport Fire Department covers Sullivan Township. Ferrysburg firefighters assisted by covering the Fruitport station for backup.

Firefighters were still hosing down the debris a little before noon.

They were on the scene into the early afternoon.

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