Man who died in apartment fire identified

February 6, 2024

Man who died in apartment fire identified

SHELBY — The man who died in an apartment fire Monday night, Feb. 5, has been identified as 38-year-old Erasmo Valencia, according to the Shelby-Benona Fire Department.

“The victim, 38-year-old Erasmo Valencia, was extricated from the room at 10:13 p.m. and assisted to the ground via firefighters and turned over to Life EMS units on scene,” states a press release from the fire department. “Life EMS transported the individual to Trinity Health Lakeshore Hospital in Shelby where he was pronounced dead as a result of his injuries.

“On Feb. 5, 2024 at 9:44 p.m., the Shelby-Benona Fire Department was called to 23 N. Michigan Ave. for a report of a multi-family dwelling filling with smoke. First arriving EMS units along with department command arrived at 9:48 p.m. and updated incoming crews of smoke and flames coming through the roof with the possibility of an occupant still trapped inside.  

“Upon arrival, the first in engine crew prepped for an attempted rescue, battling heavy smoke and fire conditions throughout. An initial primary search of the first floor came up negative for the missing occupant. Once secondary incoming units arrived, a search of the second floor was completed. It was during this search that rescuers located the victim in a second-story bedroom near the front of the residence. 

“The other 13 residents in the three-apartment home were able to self-extricate without injury. The residence sustained substantial damage, making it uninhabitable and unsafe for non-emergency personnel to be inside. 

“The Shelby-Benona Fire Department (was assisted by) four Oceana County departments — Hart Area Fire Department, Grant Township Fire Department, Ferry Township Fire Department and Pentwater Fire Department. Montague Fire District and Crystal Valley fire departments were placed on standby to backfill call for service while units were on scene. The fire was fought by 45 firefighters from those five departments, along with assistance from Mason-Oceana 911, the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, Life EMS, Oceana County Emergency Management, DTE, Consumers Energy, Oceana County Victim Services, American Red Cross and the Shelby Wesleyan Church.

“The department reminds everyone that working smoke detectors save lives. If you or someone you know needs some, contact the Shelby-Benona Fire Department.

“This incident remains under investigation, and the scene is closed to all non-designated personnel and the public until the State of Michigan Fire Marshal’s Office has concluded their investigation.”

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