Chief credits smoke detectors, firefighters’ swift response  for saving home

March 17, 2023

Chief credits smoke detectors, firefighters’ swift response  for saving home

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor

BENONA TOWNSHIP — Smoke detectors alerted a homeowner that his Stony Lake cottage was on fire at about 2:30 a.m. Friday March 17, and 17 firefighters from Shelby-Benona, Ferry Township and Grant Township departments quickly responded to the blaze.

The smoke detectors and firefighters’ swift actions saved the single-story home at 8958 W. Huron Trail from any major damage, said Shelby Fire Chief Jack White, stressing the importance of having functioning smoke detectors in homes.

“This was basically an electrical fire — it started in the water heater,” said Chief White. Fire damage was contained to partitioning around the water heater located in the basement of the approximate 1,000-square-foot house. Smoke damage is minimal.

“If he wouldn’t have had smoke detectors, I don’t know how big the fire would have gotten or how much more damage would have been done.

“We got the call that the house was full of smoke and the guy got out. The smoke alarms woke him up. We got there and discovered the fire was down in the basement. The basement access was from the outside. There was a fair amount of water in the basement. We think probably the water caused an electrical short which started the fire.”

Crews remained on scene for about an hour. 

The Shelby-Benona Fire Department has free smoke detectors available for anyone in Oceana County that the firefighters will install in homes for free. 

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