Wednesday night fire destroys home on Cottage Street in Clare

March 23, 2017

By Pat Maurer

Photos by Bob Guiliani

A structure fire late Wednesday evening completely destroyed an unoccupied home on Cottage Street in Clare, Fire Chief Jim Chapman said Thursday morning.

He said the fire at 714 Cottage Street, about a block north of Schoolcrest, was called in at 10:24 p.m. Wednesday night and firefighters from Clare, Surrey Township and Harrison were on the scene of the intense blaze until 4 a.m. Thursday morning.

Chapman said, “We were told the single story home was unoccupied and had been empty since 2015. The owner, Debra Ellison, has a home in Gladwin.” He added that the home was “piled” full of things and he thought it had been the home of Ellison’s parents. Chapman said the cause of the fire appeared suspicious and that he believed it may have started on the east side of the empty residence. “The cause of the fire is undetermined,” he said, “and it is under investigation by the Michigan State Fire Marshal’s Office in Lansing.”

Chapman said a ruptured gas line on the east side of the home was shooting flames 20 feet into the air and onto the side of the building when the department arrived on the scene. “There wasn’t much we could do until the gas was turned off,” he said, “except try to keep the fire knocked down on the west side of the building.”
No one was injured during the fire.

Along with Surrey Township and Harrison’s Fire Departments, Clare was assisted at the scene by Mobile Medical Ambulance Service, the Clare Police Department and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division.

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