March 04, 2009 IMLAY CITY — Officials report that the gas supply had been turned off to a mobile home that caught fire early last Tuesday, resulting in the death of one man and serious injury to another.
The March 3 fire occurred at Lot 188 in the Maple Grove Mobile Home Communities, located at 2070 S. Almont Ave.
Police Chief John Stano identified the victim as 30-year-old Jeremy Judd, a 1995 graduate of Imlay City High School. The survivor, Kevin Williams, 26, was spared of a similar fate when he was pulled to safety by neighbors, Chris and Sally Cutler.
While investigators continue to sift through the rubble and gather information regarding the cause of the fire, some details are being released.
"The gas had been turned off at the trailer," said Stano, adding that the home's electricity was still on. "They may have been using space heaters to heat the home. The oven door was open, but we don't know for sure if that was being used."
Police also checked the area for exotic animals reportedly kept at the residence that may have escaped the smoke and flames of the fire.
"There were reports that the tenant had exotic animals in the house, possibly even a three-foot alligator," Stano said. "The state police investigators have assured us that the reptiles must have died in the fire."
The fire was called in to the Imlay City Fire Dept. at 5:06 a.m. Departments from Goodland, Attica and Almont also responded, as did Imlay City Police and Lapeer County EMS.
Fire Chief Kip Reaves said the fire damage was generally confined to the rear of the mobile home, where Judd was believed to have been sleeping.
Reaves offered praise to the Cutlers for their shared effort in rescuing Williams and for alerting other neighbors of the fire.
"It is very likely that they saved his (Williams') life," said Reaves.
He added that he hopes the couple can be acknowledged for their lifesaving efforts through an official city proclamation.
For more on this story pick up the March 11 print edition of the Tri-City Times.