VERGENNES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities said a 4-year-old boy died and four people were taken to the hospital after an early morning house fire Thursday.
Crews from Lowell and Ada fire departments were sent shortly after 12:30 a.m. to the scene in the 700 block of Flat River Drive — near the Lowell City Airport. The caller said her boyfriend and a child were in the house, according to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office.
When they arrived, firefighters found the house on fire and a 27-year-old man in critical condition, according to deputies. The first firefighter on scene went straight inside the house to look for the child but became disoriented because the fire was so heavy, the sheriff’s office said.
As more firefighters arrived, they found the 4-year-old boy dead, according to the sheriff’s office. One firefighter experienced minor burns as they retrieved him.
The boy’s father, 27, was taken to the hospital and remains in critical condition, deputies said.
The sheriff’s office said three other people — a 27-year-old woman, a 64-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman — were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. The three were later released.
It’s unknown what caused the fire. Michigan State Police fire investigators are looking into it.
Lowell Fire Chief Shannon Witherell said his crew was able to respond within five minutes of the call but had to call in several other jurisdictions to help contain the blaze.
The front of the house was destroyed, showing lots of charring and paneling melted away in some areas, as well as broken windows.
Grace Heyboer of Byron Center heard about the fire on TV and realized that it was the home she lived in about 60 years ago.
“I thought, ‘That looks just like the house that we had.’ So I had a picture of it and so I looked at it and sure enough, it was,” Heyboer said. “I feel very bad about the family that it happened to. We’ll be praying for them.”
Family of some of those who were in the house declined an interview Thursday, saying they;re trying to make sense of what happened.
— News 8’s Demetrios Sanders contributed to this report.