‘Good Timing': Off-Duty Deputies Save Man From Burning Home

GIRARD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (March 19, 2014) — Off-duty deputies in Branch County are being called heroes after saving a man and his three dogs from his burning home after an explosion.

According to the sheriff’s office, a call came into dispatch on March 17 around 11:50 a.m. that a home had exploded. Off-duty deputies were driving by the home on the corner of Bidwell and Marshall roads, saw the explosion, and responded.

They found that a wall had been blown open and that the homeowner was standing inside, still in shock, trying to use his phone. The home was burning when deputies went inside and got the man out. They say that they could feel the heat radiating up through the floors where the homeowner was standing.

Deputy Greg Ware and Al Fleming went back out to the scene Wednesday and say it looked a lot worse than they remembered.

Talk about being in the right place at that the right time, the two were there just seconds after the explosion. Both are 16-year veterans of the Branch County Sheriff’s Office and say close friends were running late to go pick up some parts for a tractor they were working on.

The two say they don’t think the man would have gotten out of the house if they wouldn’t have made him. The deputies also managed to hook up the homeowner’s vehicle to theirs and pull it away from the home.

Coldwater Fire Marshall Paul Dove says it was a natural gas explosion that was caused when the man inside lit the stove; the tenant told investigators he never smelled anything out of the ordinary.

As for Deputy Ware and Deputy Fleming, they say they were just doing their job, uniform or not and are glad to know that the man is OK. 

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