Kentwood fires cause ‘huge’ losses to house, commercial building

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KENTWOOD, Mich. — A pair of fires broke out in Kentwood  at about the same time early Saturday morning – one in a house, the other in a commercial building – and both suffered significant damage.

So says Kentwood Battalion Chief Shaun Abbey. He tells FOX 17 a faulty heating-oil unit in the mezzanine is being investigated as a possible cause of the fire at Sweet Express LLC – a transportation company at 3060 Breton Avenue SE.  Kent County Dispatch Authority says crews from Kentwood, Cascade Township and Grand Rapids were dispatched to the scene around 3:30 a.m.

Battalion Chief Abbey says there were no injuries, but firefighters were there “almost 14 hours” Saturday. That’s because “there were several collapses that created voids”, and crews remained on-scene putting out hot spots.  Abbey estimates the fire did around $500,000 damage.

Meanwhile, he says Kentwood did not have enough crews to respond to the house fire that broke out at about the same time, in the 1900 block of Andrew Street SE. As a result, Abbey says there was a brief delay getting to the house fire, because crews from Cutlerville, Grand Rapids and Wyoming had to be dispatched, instead, to fight that fire. He says there were no injuries, but the house suffered a “huge loss”.

The battalion chief tells FOX 17 the homeowners had smelled smoke the (Friday) night before – around 7 o’clock – but didn’t call the fire department. Abbey says that was a mistake: if you smell smoke in a house and aren’t sure where it’s coming from, he says you should call the fire department, just to be on the safe side.

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