Fire caused by smoking in bed or electrical issues.

December 23, 2016

parkview manor fireFire caused by smoking in bed or electrical issues.

#OceanaCountyNews #ParkviewManorFire

By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

HART — The massive fire that destroyed two apartment buildings and injured six people at Parkview Manor, Dec. 15, was likely caused by a man smoking a tobacco cigarette in bed or electrical issues. However, the official cause is “undetermined,” said Oceana County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Brown, the lead investigator for the Oceana County Fire Investigation Team.

parkview manor fire -4Brown, who is compiling the team’s final report, said there is no criminal element to the cause. Therefore, arson has been ruled out. “There is no issue to pursue criminally,” Brown said.

“It appears it was facilitated by human hands,” he said. “But we have not been able to rule out electrical issues.”

The complex, owned by Tammy Loncore, has a $1 million insurance policy, Brown said. The insurance company will have to decide if it wants to hire an electrical engineer to examine electrical issues, he said. He did not know if Loncore was planning to rebuild, and Loncore could not be reached for comment.

The buildings, constructed in the 1980s, had no sprinklers installed, but they were not required by law due to the buildings’ age, he said.

hart_apartment_fireThe fire started in apartment #34 in building #5, he said. The fire then spread through building #5 and then pushed into building #6, Brown said. There was a firewall between the two buildings, but it could not stop the intense heat coupled with the fierce winds.

Smoke alarms were installed in all the apartments and hallways, he said. A pull switch was activated. “Every safety feature worked.”

“People heard the alarms and made proper decisions,” he said. “Some people chose to jump out windows, and others took a deep breath and then ran through the smoke and flames to get out. I’m thankful nobody died.”

Firefighters from Mason County's Pere Marquette spray water on the wreckage Thursday afternoon.

There were 18 people “involved” in the fire, including 17 tenants and one overnight guest. Of the 17 residents who lost their homes, three had renter’s insurance. The apartment complex, located at 710 E. Main St., is a Section 8 assisted apartment facility for low income renters, according to affordablehousingonline.com.

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