A house fire on Memory Lane in Harrison Township Nov. 13 claimed the life of a family’s dog. Fire investigators say they’re close to determining the cause of the blaze.

A house fire on Memory Lane in Harrison Township Nov. 13 claimed the life of a family’s dog. Fire investigators say they’re close to determining the cause of the blaze.

Photo provided by Fred Darga

Family pet perishes in Harrison Township fire

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published November 20, 2018


HARRISON TOWNSHIP — The cause of a Nov. 13 house fire that claimed the life of a family’s pet dog remained under investigation last week.

According to Harrison Township Fire Inspector Fred Darga, firefighters were called to the blaze on Memory Lane at approximately 4:30 p.m.

He said the fire was observed by two neighbors. When firefighters arrived at the scene, flames were coming from a front picture window and into the eavestrough.

No one was home at the time.

“It was a tri-level home and there was roughly five people living there,” Darga said. He learned that the last person to leave the home that day did so at around 12:30 p.m.

“There were two dogs inside the home, and the first team to arrive were able to save one of the dogs,” Darga said. The second dog was found deceased in the kitchen area.

Darga said the home sustained heavy fire and smoke damage.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Darga said it likely originated in the family room at the front of the home. He said there were space heaters located in the home.

“I’m close to completing my part of the investigation, and a fire investigator from the (homeowner’s) insurance company is conducting their own investigation. An engineer is scheduled to come out this week to look at the electrical,” Darga said. “We’re just getting every part checked off. It’s a process of elimination.”

The fire was extinguished within five minutes, Darga said. Firefighters from Mount Clemens, Clinton Township and Chesterfield Township assisted the Harrison Township firefighters.

“Two of the newer guys who were just hired in the last 18 months were first at the scene and they did a fantastic job,” Darga said.

And while the cause of the fire remained unknown at press time, Darga said the fire-damaged space heaters either offer a clue or serve as a public service announcement for the cold months ahead.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is a leading cause of home fires, and half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January and February.

To stay safe, the NFPA offers universal tips to avoid fire:

Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or portable space heater.

Have a 3-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.

Never use your oven to heat your home.

Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.

Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters.

Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.

Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

For more information, visit nfpa.org.