Fire destroys Baldwin Township home

Special to the Star News

A two-story home at 30709 108th St. about four miles southeast of Princeton, in Baldwin Township, was destroyed by fire on Feb. 18.

Mike Rademacher, chief of the fire and rescue department in Baldwin Township, said the call came in at 2:56 a.m. The Princeton and Zimmerman/Livonia departments assisted Baldwin in fighting the fire.

The property is owned by Jerod Minks, who was living in the home at the time of the fire with his cousin Chris Minks and Jerod’s stepbrother Justin Baier. All three got out safely. Jerod’s father Scott Minks, said on Monday that Baier was alerted to the fire when he awoke to the sound of pounding. Baier and the two Minks cousins were all in separate bedrooms on the third floor, and Baier then alerted the other two to get out, according to Scott Minks.

It was very fortunate that they learned of the fire as soon as they did, Minks added, because 10 minutes later there were flames 50 feet high.

Rademacher said his firefighters were at the scene 4.5-5 hours before returning to their station to clean the equipment. They were finishing the cleanup at close to 10:30 a.m. when they were called out to the house again because the fire had rekindled. They didn’t get out of the station again until about 3:30 p.m., making for a long day, Rademacher said.

Princeton firefighters assisted in putting out the rekindled fire. A large propane tank sits not far from the northeast corner of the house, which was one of the concerns if the fire had become strong again.

The fire’s origin was near a wood stove on the main floor, according to Rademacher. Ashes are the suspected cause of the original fire but that was not yet official, Rademacher said Feb. 21. An investigator for the insurance company had been to the scene to investigate after the fire.

The home was insured, said Scott Minks, who said there is the probability that his son will build a new home at the location.

Everything in the house was lost to the fire, including at least one cell phone and a couple sets of keys, Minks continued, also confirming that the house was a total loss. But the three young men “got out of the house and we’re grateful for that, and we’re not planning a funeral,” he said.

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