October 21 07:09 PM

Fog, flames a problem on Monday

Four departments battle blaze at home on Wheeling Rd.

About 40 firefighters responded to this three-alarm fire in Imlay Township.

November 21, 2012
IMLAY TWP. — About 40 firefighters from Imlay City, Goodland, Mussey and Attica townships fought heavy fog and flames Monday morning, Nov. 19, to extinguish a structure fire on Wheeling Road.

Imlay City Fire Chief Kip Reaves reported that it took seven hours to put out the fire and another two hours to clean up and clear the scene.

Reaves said the fire was reported at 1:38 a.m. by a neighbor, who informed a 911 dispatcher that she could see "flames coming from everywhere."

He added that it took extra time for firefighters and emergency personnel to arrive at the scene because of heavy fog and zero visibility at the time of the call.

"Lapeer EMS arrived on scene within 15 minutes and reported flames though the roof of a structure," Reaves reported. "Imlay City firefighters arrived at 1:56 a.m. and confirmed the spread of flames though the roof and no occupants or vehicles at the scene."

He said it was later determined that the homeowners were not at home at the time of the fire.

Reaves credited Fire Lt. Dallas Hainds with assuming incident command at the scene and calling a second alarm from Mussey Township firefighters.

"As firefighters began a defensive attack," said Reaves, "several small explosions occurred and the electric power line came off the house to the ground."

He said the downed power line hampered firefighters' efforts somewhat until a DTE crew arrived and cut the line.

Reaves added that the dense fog made it difficult for tanker trucks to access water from fire hydrants on Graham Road, because foggy conditions increased travel time between the hydrants and the scene of the fire.

At that point, a third alarm was requested from Attica Township for extra manpower and equipment.

Reaves said the house and garage and their contents are considered a total loss, as were a tractor and car parked inside the garage.

"Early indications are that the fire started near the garage area," said Reaves, adding that he has requested that a Michigan State Police fire investigation unit assist with determining the origin and cause of the fire.

"This is a normal request to seek the specialized skills from MSP," he noted.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.
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