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Wind, downed powerline result in house fire

A March 3 fire destroyed the home at 640 Granger Hills Drive. Photo by Patrick McAbee. (click for larger version)
March 07, 2012 - Brandon Twp.- Strong winds that blew through the township in the early hours of March 3 downed several trees, including one that fell on a powerline and set a house on fire.

The home, located at 640 Granger Hills Drive, ultimately burned to the ground as firefighters responding from Brandon as well as five other local departments were thwarted in their efforts to put out the blaze by the downed trees on various roads in the township, as well as the wind that fueled the fire.

Brandon Fire Chief David Kwapis said firefighters were called at about 3:37 a.m., March 3 to the Granger Hills home. Fire trucks from all three township stations responded, however, downed trees along the various routes delayed the response. Firefighters from Atlas, Groveland, Hadley, Independence, and Oxford townships joined Brandon.

Upon arrival, the roof was engulfed in flames. The former occupants, a father and his adult daughter, had escaped the one-story ranch with walk-out basement. A tree on the west side of the home had fallen on a powerline and both the tree and the wood siding of the home caught fire.

Firefighters were hindered in their attack also in part because of the distance that had to be traveled to obtain water due to roads being blocked from downed trees. Water was ultimately obtained from a subdivision off M-15 near Seymour Lake Road.

The firefighters wanted to attack the blaze from the west side of the home, but could not due to the power lines on the ground there. The firefighters started an interior attack, but exited the home when the roof began showing evidence it would fail.

"They pulled the crews back and within five minutes, the roof collapsed," Kwapis said. "With the winds, it made it more difficult to extinguish. The house was a total loss."

Kwapis estimated the total damage including contents to be $180,000.

Firefighters had the blaze under control by 5:02 a.m. and remained on the scene until 2:30 p.m.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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