Family Says Galesburg Fire Victim Liked To Help Others

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GALESBURG, Mich. — The Kalamazoo County Undersheriff confirms that a body was located in the burned remains of a home on East L Avenue in Galesburg.

It’s believed to be that of Willadean Small, but the Sheriff’s Office has yet to get that confirmed through dental records.

Family members say she was in her 80’s and was likely in the home alone when the fire broke out.

Relatives say her husband was staying in a nursing home community a few miles away.

A neighbor spotted the flames at around 4:00 am Monday.

When fire crews arrived, the modular home was fully engulfed in flames.

Winds may have contributed to the speed of the fire, however the cause remains under investigation.

Officials say they’re looking into whether or not a power outage played a role.

Neighbors say the power went out at around 4:00 pm Sunday due to storms and it was still off Monday afternoon.

The Sheriff’s Office says they are looking into whether the woman may have lit a candle during the outage that contributed to the fire.

They say she was also a heavy smoker and they will be examining that possibility as well.

However, it’s still too early to determine where or how the fire started.

The state fire marshal will be assisting in the investigation.

Family members say Willadean was generous and liked to help others, especially children.

Her daughter Vicki said she often contributed to a children’s hunger relief fund.

She said she was well-loved within the family and will be dearly missed.

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2 comments

  • Michelle

    Way to go go FOX 17.. all over the story hours after the competition. I believe I saw this story playing out live at 5am on Channel 3. Seven hours later you guys actually get some information. Stay in GR where you belong.

  • Mac Woods

    So Michelle…….By your logic, only the FIRST report about anything is acceptable. Every report after is not legitimate? That's usually the style most common in places like China and North Korea, where the people get their "news" from a single source. Channel 3 is your Local outlet. Channel 17 is ours. Sorry we didn't have any crews hanging out at South 35th & Miller McDonalds, just waiting for something to happen in Galesburg. But then I imagine, channel 3 probably doesn't maintain a standing news crew in Grand Rapids either………But that's okay. I like channel 3. I also like channel 8. WGN out of Chicago is pretty good too……..