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Pellet stove possible cause of kennel fire that killed 30 dogs

Sarah Sell/WZZM-TV • Apr 2, 2018 at 8:15 PM

FRUITPORT TWP. — The Fruitport Township Fire Department has wrapped up its end of the investigation into what caused a fire that killed 30 dogs at a breeding and boarding kennel on March 30.

They’ve pinpointed a few possible sources in the Storm’s Ahead Kennel office, including a pellet stove.

"We went back out Friday in the daylight to take a better look at it and determine an origin,” Fruitport Township Public Safety Director Brian Michelli said. He believes the fire started in the kennel office, located in the front of the building. "In this area, they had a pellet stove, water heater, electrical service, among other things near it."

Michelli said the owners used two pellet stoves to heat the building — one in the front and one in the back. Both were on at the time, but Michelli said he can't say definitively what started the fire. He’ll leave that up to the owner’s insurance company to investigate further.

"I don't list a cause,” he said. “I say that this is my area origin. It's documented and graphed that this is what we know is there. The insurance company will hire their own independent investigator to go out and do the same thing we do."

According to Muskegon County, the kennel did have an up-to-date kennel license. Michelli said he's unaware of any violations.

"They did nothing against the law, so we're not seeking any charges against them,” he said.

As for the dogs, some of them belonged to the owners and others to families who left them there for spring break. Nick and Kaylyn Buckner, who lost their 10-month-old Wheaton terrier, Remington, has set up a GoFundMe account for the families of all the dogs killed in the fire.

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