Spate of fires keep Warren firefighters busy in the heat

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published July 17, 2020


WARREN — A series of structure fires kept Warren firefighters busy in early July.

As southeast Michigan basked in a prolonged stretch of summertime heat with daytime highs peaking above the 90 degree mark for a full week, crews battled three fires over a four-day period straddling the July Fourth holiday.

On July 6, firefighters were sent to the 21400 block of Audrey Avenue, near Mound and Toepfer roads, where a fire apparently started in the front bedroom of a home at about 11 a.m.

“There were no occupants (home) at the time. We had to ventilate the roof, and the fire was quickly brought under control,” Warren Fire Commissioner Skip McAdams said. “The scene was clear by 11:36.”

Engine 3 was the first apparatus on the scene, and Engine 6, Quint 1, Rescue 4 and Squad 3 also responded. Estimated damage was $25,000.

On July 5, Engine 2, Engine 3, Quint 1, Rescue 4 and Squad 3 were dispatched to a house fire in the 13100 block of Sherman Avenue, near Toepfer and Schoenherr roads, at 11:20 p.m.

“Engine 2 arrived to find smoke coming from the back porch area,” McAdams said. “The family was home. They said they had some fireworks on the back porch and somehow they ignited, catching the wall and spreading to his utility area.”

Dogs reportedly became agitated at the scene, and one of the owners was bitten. McAdams said the man refused transport to the hospital but was treated at the scene.

Damage was estimated at $20,000. The cause was ruled accidental and attributed to fireworks.

On July 3, firefighters were sent to the 14100 block of Couwlier Avenue, near Toepfer and Schoenherr roads, after dispatch received a call about a house fire at 8:41 p.m.

“The fire started outside of the exterior wall and burned into the interior attic space,” McAdams said.

Engine 2, Squad 2, Engine 3, Truck 4 and Quit 1 responded. There were no injuries among firefighters or civilians, and an estimated $35,000 in damage was reported. An investigation into the cause remained ongoing at press time, but electrical overload was suspected, McAdams added.

“Hydration is the key to everything,” McAdams said, addressing how the weather affects firefighters working in heavy gear. “We have to rotate crews as quickly as possible. You take off the gear. You get them into a cool area. We monitor everybody to make sure they don’t suffer from heat exhaustion. This kind of weather is brutal for us.”

The hot, dry weather, while not officially a drought, obviously creates a danger when paired with fireworks, outdoor burning or even cigarettes. McAdams said several grass fires were also reported.