BARODA — A Baroda man is staying with relatives after a fire swept through his house during poor weather conditions Wednesday night.
The Baroda Fire Department was called about 7 p.m. to a house in the 10700 block of Hills Road owned by Glen Phillipi.
Public Information Officer Griffin Ott said the house was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, but Phillipi had escaped the burning structure.
“It took us awhile to get there due to poor weather conditions,” Ott said.
Lake Township, Bridgman and Lincoln Township firefighters also responded to the initial call. Tankers were supplied by Berrien Springs/Oronoko Township and Weesaw Township fire departments.
Griffin said the nearest fire hydrant was 4 miles away at Shawnee Road and Cleveland Avenue, and the weather was affecting travel times so Baroda Fire Department looked to neighboring fire departments for extra water.
Meanwhile, firefighters set up a vinyl porta-tank – similar in size to a small swimming pool – that could hold 3,000 gallons of water.
“We initially ran off 1,000 gallons from our own truck, then the extra tankers dumped their loads and we used the porta-tank as a hydrant. There was never a lapse in water supply,” Ott said.
Firefighters were at the scene for just under five hours. Ott said the preliminary investigation of the cause pointed to an electrical fire, with a space heater being the source.
“The homeowner said he had heard a pop, and when he went to check it out the (bedroom) was engulfed in flames,” Ott said.
Damage is estimated at $130,000 to the structure and contents, and will likely be deemed a total loss.
Griffin said the homeowner has insurance and has nearby relatives he can stay with.
Contact: jswidwa@TheHP.com, 932-0359, Twitter: @HPSwidwa