Harrison homes, cars burn over July 4th holiday

The fire that destroyed this Long Lake Road home was called suspicious. Photo by CMU Intern Chris Stevens

The fire that destroyed this Long Lake Road home was called suspicious.
Photo by CMU Intern Chris Stevens

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

The day before and the day after the Fourth of July were busy ones for the Harrison Fire Department, who answered more than six calls including two structure fires on Monday and four more on Wednesday.

On Monday, Harrison Fire Chief Chris Damvelt said three other departments, Clare, Gladwin and Lincoln Township, were called around 7 p.m. Monday to help fight a trailer fire at 4500 Larch Road.

“The trailer, owned by Kristyen and Lance Sprague, was fully involved when we arrived,” he said. He said Lance’s father, who lives next door initially thought someone was inside at the time. “There was no way we could get in there,” Damvelt said. He said a phone call by Lance’s father revealed that the family had gone out to dinner and were not at home at the time.

The mobile home of Kristyne and Lance Sprague at 4500 Larch Road in Harrison was completely destroyed by a fire Monday evening.

The mobile home of Kristyne and Lance Sprague at 4500 Larch Road in Harrison was completely destroyed by a fire Monday evening.

Harrison, with the help of the other departments, fought the blaze until about 9:30 p.m., when they were finally able to clear the scene.

Damvelt said the trailer was completely gutted and a total loss.

The cause of the fire has not been determined yet. Damvelt said the State Fire Marshall’s office would be on the scene to investigate.

There were no injuries.

Just when the fire fighters had completed the cleanup from the trailer fire, another call came in around 11:20 p.m. saying a home, owned by Melisa and Robert Mason was fully engulfed at 3106 East Long Lake Road, just east of Clare Avenue.

The two-story home was also completely destroyed, Damvelt said. He said the Masons were at the fireworks display in town at the time and came home to find the house in flames. The couple’s four dogs were in a pen outside and were not injured.

A neighbor Nancy Miller told 9 & 10 News that she heard an explosion then saw flames coming from the house.

Damvelt said that made the cause of the fire, which has not been determined, suspicious. “It could have been fireworks and not connected with the fire at all,” he said, “but the Fire Marshall is investigating. He said the initial investigation into the cause of the fire began Wednesday.

Miller told 9 & 10 that her great-grandmother grew up in the home, which is now only rubble.

Clare and Gladwin Fire Departments assisted the Harrison department at the scene. “We cleared the scene around 3 a.m. Tuesday morning,” Damvelt said, but he added that they were there again the next day during the parade because some of the rubble, a mattress, which was buried when the second floor collapsed, was smoldering and a small area had reignited.

No one was injured.

“It was a busy start to the week,” Damvelt said. He said the department’s other calls Monday included a couple of grass or wild fires.
Four more calls came in to the Harrison department on Wednesday, Damvelt said. “We had two car fires, a grass fire, and smoke reported at another home that turned out to be a fire outside.”

He said both the car fires resulted in the vehicles being totally destroyed. The first on Apache Trail came in around 4:30 p.m. “A man (he didn’t have the owner’s name available when called) had just picked up a new Jeep Cherokee and decided to try out the four wheel drive at his home. The car caught on fire and was a total loss.” He said, he didn’t have insurance on it yet.

The second car fire call came in while firefighters were returning to the station. It was reported on North Harrison Avenue by Birch, Damvelt said. The owner had pulled into a driveway to visit a friend when the car caught on fire. “That one was also a total loss,” he said.

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