11/20/2013 12:01:00 AM Lake Street house fire last week draws Harbor, RFC departments
A house on the corner of Lake and Hoyt Streets that is well-known (and loved) for its holiday decor-- be it Halloween, Fourth of July, or Christmas-- caught fire in Harbor Springs on Wednesday, November 13.
The Harbor Springs Area Fire Dept. was called to a possible structure fire 10:48 p.m. Richard and Dee Lantz's residence, 693 E. Lake St., and upon arrival, firefighters found heavy smoke and flames inside.
The Lantz's and their children were already safe outside when the fire department reached the house.
According to Harbor Springs fire chief Dick Schiller, his department requested manpower assistance from the Readmond Friendship Cross Village Fire Department, due to the size and age of the structure. The Harbor Springs electric department was called to shut off the power to the residence.
"Firefighters gained entry into the main floor and quickly knocked down the fire in the living room. Another team made entry into the basement and found heavy fire and smoke and went to work to extinguish the fire there. A third team using ladders gained entry into the second floor and found that the fire had extended into a front bedroom with heavy smoke throughout," Schiller said.
He noted all three teams worked simultaneously and were able to extinguish the majority of the fire.
"During this time, firefighters on the outside of the structure were busy setting up fans to eject the smoke from the building to give the interior firefighters fresher air and better visibility. They also assisted with hose movements and changing the air bottles for those firefighters using them."
Schiller reported the fire in the basement took the longest time to extinguish, as there was a wood pile for the wood furnace that had ignited.
Firefighters remained on scene until around 1:00 a.m.
"They made sure there were no more hotspots, using the thermal imaging camera and doing thorough searches. The firefighters returned to the stations to clean and put away the equipment to be completely in service," he said.
Thursday morning, several firefighters returned to the residence to talk with the residents and to walk through the fire scene in daylight hours to try and determine the cause of the blaze. The homeowners had already contacted their insurance agents, Schiller said, and were told an adjuster would meet with them later that day and an insurance company investigator would be in contact with them.
"The family owns a garage apartment on the same lot as the burned residence so they have a place to stay," he added.
On Friday the insurance company investigator and Chief Schiller met at the residence and after several hours the investigator determined that the fire was accidental and released his findings to the insurance company.
Several local agencies such as Holy Childhood Church Resale, American Red Cross, and Harbor Springs Public Schools have been assisting the family.