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Investigation continues in mobile home explosion, fire

Becky Vargo • Mar 7, 2019 at 9:00 AM

SPRING LAKE TWP. — A 31-year-old Spring Lake man remained hospitalized Wednesday afternoon in serious, but stable condition following an explosion and fire in a mobile home this past Friday night.

The man’s name was not being released pending possible criminal charges in the incident, said Detective Jake Sparks of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.

The man is being treated at Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids.

No one else was in the home at the time of the fire.

Emergency crews responded to the fire with a reported explosion shortly before 8 p.m. March 1 at 17114 Superior Drive, which is in the Forest Lake Estates  mobile home park in Spring Lake Township. Upon arrival, the home was fully involved in fire, said Spring Lake Fire Chief Brian Sipe. The fire was extinguished within 20 minutes, but all that remained was a skeleton of the structure.

The occupant of the home was found outside with severe burns over his body, Sipe said, and transported to a Muskegon hospital.

Neighbor Kylie Vanetten said she had just gotten off the phone “when this boom happened.” She thought it was about 7:45 p.m. when it happened.

“I thought it was something in my house,” she said.

Vanetten said she looked around, couldn’t find anything, and then looked outside and saw people running by.

“I put on my boots and jacket and could hear people yelling, ‘Is there anyone inside?’” she said. “It was already burning then. When you got out there you could tell there was no hope for the house.”

Vanetten said she and her husband have lived right behind the now burned-out home for about four years, but didn’t know their neighbor.

“We’ve never really seen him,” she said.

Vanetten emphasized that it was usually quiet at the home.

“We never saw any strange activity there,” she said.

Michigan State Police are working with the Sheriff’s Office to determine the cause and origin of the fire, Sparks said. The state police dug around the site on Monday and are analyzing what they found, the detective added.

“They are trying to determine if it was accidental or intentional,” Sparks said. “If it is arson, then the Sheriff’s Office does a criminal investigation.”

Sparks said that, at this point, they don’t believe a meth lab was involved in the incident.

He also noted that there is no danger to anyone and, other than some superficial damage to a couple of nearby homes, no other residences were involved.

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