Fire investigators in Grand Rapids are still looking in to the cause of what was initially being considered a suspicious fire Tuesday night. Flames broke out in the 1000 block of Lafayette Street around midnight. Grand Rapids fire investigator Ric Dokter says the residents came home, heard glass break, then saw flames shortly afterwards in the front room of the house.
There were no injuries and the house is a total loss, but Michigan State Police were on the scene this morning with a dog combing through the rubble with Grand Rapids fire officials. The canine was searching for signs of ignitable liquid, but none was found. Dokter says the origin of the fire was in the front room (being used as a bedroom) where a flash-over occurred…a situation where all combustible materials in the room ignite quickly.
Because the home was of an older nature, the smoke and flames also spread quickly to the second story and attic due to balloon construction…where wood studs run the complete distance from the ground floor to the second floor with no fire stop or platform in between. GRFD arrived on the scene to find a well-established fully engulfed structure fire. About 21 firefighters in seven vehicles responded to the original alarm. An additional 14 firefighters in five more vehicles responded to the second alarm. The fire burned so hot it actually melted most of the vinyl siding off a neighbor’s house next door.