Enormous lakeshore fire still smoldering.

August 4, 2020

Enormous lakeshore fire still smoldering.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

BENONA TOWNSHIP — The scene of a massive fire that leveled a three-story home along the Lake Michigan shoreline Monday, Aug. 3, continues to smolder, said Shelby-Benona Fire Chief Jack White Tuesday morning, Aug. 4.

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Because the fire is not entirely extinguished, it cannot be investigated. So, the cause has not yet been determined, White said.

A fire truck was stationed at the scene all night Monday, White said, and he expects the scene to continue to be manned for the next few days until the fire is completely out. “It has to be out before it can be investigated,” he said. “Right now, it’s like a big barbecue pit.”

Coals from the enormous fire continue to smolder in the basement area. “It will probably take as much water as it did yesterday.”

Every fire department in Oceana County responded to the huge blaze with the exception of Hesperia, which is farthest to the east. Departments on scene included: Shelby-Benona, Hart, Grant Township, Pentwater, Ferry Township, Crystal Township and Walkerville. Life EMS, the Michigan State Police and the Department of Natural Resources also responded.

“The DNR handled seven spot fires to the south,” the chief said.

Besides the truck that stayed all the night, the last truck cleared the scene at 9 p.m. after battling the blaze for nearly seven hours.

The home is owned by Mara Gloor, White said.

There were two boys, who are relatives of the homeowner, who were inside the house when the fire started, White said. They safely escaped. “The smoke alarms went off, and they ran next door to get a fire extinguisher.” An adult relative in the nextdoor house told them stay out and called 911.

The boys were using a computer, and the computer camera picked up footage of the blaze.

The fire began in the garage, which was underneath the house and then quickly spread to the home at 657 S. Glen Rd.

No one was injured.

Heavy, black smoke could be seen from several miles away, and the fire attracted many onlookers. However, when the first fire trucks arrived, the smoke was not visible until firefighters were about 100 feet away, White said.

“We didn’t have a prayer when we got here,” White said. “It was in the garage spreading to the house.

The house, located west of Cherry Point Farm & Market, was made of light-weight wood frame truss construction, White said.

“We probably blistered the paint on one truck,” said White of the intensity of the blaze.

The adjacent homes sustained exterior damage and possibly some interior damage as well, the chief said.

Communication between the firefighters was a major challenge. “Most of the time you couldn’t talk to anybody, because the radios don’t work out here.” There is little to no cell or radio service in the area. “I can’t talk to an engine that I can see.”

Neighbors said the homeowners are from Chicago and had just left that morning to return to the city.

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