SPRING LAKE TWP. — Everyone got out safely when fire destroyed a Spring Lake Township duplex on Thursday.
Firefighters from three departments responded to the scene shortly after 5:30 p.m.
Charlene Easey was sitting at her desk when she heard a noise in the garage late Thursday afternoon.
“I opened the garage door and all I saw was flames,” said the 80-year-old Spring Lake Township woman.
She turned and escaped her duplex at 17657 148th Ave. through the front door. She didn’t know if any of the pets followed her outside.
“I’ve been through almost everything,” said the woman who was alone in her house at the time.
Tracy Holt was taking a shower in the unit on the south side of the duplex when she noticed smoke coming out of the vent.
“I yelled at my grandson to get out,” she said. By then, the neighbors were already through the door, trying to make sure everyone got out OK.
Holt said she was thankful that the neighbors helped get most of her pets out of the house, as well.
“Two dogs and four cats are at the neighbor’s,” she said.
Police and firefighters responding to the scene found the garage of the north unit fully involved in fire. As firefighters rushed to connect their hoses to a water source, the blaze spread into the south unit.
The fire was under control by 7 p.m. and officials said they were in “mop-up” mode shortly after that.
Firefighters from Spring Lake, Crockery Township and Ferrysburg fought the fire. The American Red Cross responded to help the occupants of the duplex.
UPDATE 6 a.m. Friday, Nov. 8, 2019:
One occupant, Charlene Easey, suffered burns to her hand as she was trying to exit, according to Spring Lake Fire Chief Brian Sipe. She was treated on the scene and released.
A combination of eight cats and dogs were able to be rescued, however a cat and two dogs remain missing.
The preliminary fire investigation shows that the fire likely started in the garage and spread to the rest of the duplex. The duplex is a total loss. The property is insured, however none of the occupants had renter’s insurance.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.