Fire breaks out at house in Hazel Park

Dog and cat rescued from the blaze

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published February 19, 2014

HAZEL PARK — A house went up in flames while the owners were not home, but fire responders were able to rescue the cat and dog. Some pocket pets perished, though, and the fire proved difficult to get under control, due to the severe cold working against the firemen and their equipment.

The incident occurred around 5:30 p.m., Feb. 9, at a residence in the 23000 block of Vassar. The Hazel Park Fire Department responded to the incident, along with automatic mutual aid from Ferndale and Madison Heights. The HPFD has requested a fire investigator from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department.

At press time, the cause of the blaze had not yet been determined.

“I think we’re looking at electrical issues, but it’s still under investigation right now,” said Hazel Park Fire Chief Mark Karschnia.

The back of the house was engulfed in flame when fire responders arrived. The fire took four hours to get under control.

“It was a little bit difficult in the cold weather,” Karschnia said. “We’re dealing with water, so everything is freezing. As we’re spraying the water, we have ice build-up. The trucks and equipment and the air packs are all affected, as well.

“We didn’t have any injuries,” he added. “The people who lived there weren’t home, but we were able to save their dog and their cat.”

He noted the house received extensive fire, smoke and water damage. The damage would’ve been worse, if not for a neighbor taking note and calling for help.

While the cause of the fire wasn’t known at press time, Karschnia said it’s important to be take caution when staying warm over the winter.

“Be careful with space heaters — keep the area clear around them, and if you’re using a plug-in with an extension cord, it has to be an adequate size,” Karschnia said. “Also, have your furnaces checked before the season to make sure they’re operating correctly. Don’t overload the electrical circuits by having a lot of items plugged in at once. And always make sure you have working smoke detectors with fresh batteries.”