Neighbor Describes Trying To Save Belding Fire Victim

Posted at 8:37 PM, Apr 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-07 22:37:44-04

BELDING, Mich. — A bed-ridden Belding woman has died from injuries sustained in a fire at her son’s home Sunday morning.

Her name hasn’t been released, pending notification of more family members.

Neighbor Mike Straub’s kids tipped him off to what was happening Sunday morning in their neighborhood on Masonic Avenue in Belding.

“They said that the neighbor’s house was on fire,” he says.

Straub rushed out to help the homeowners, Ryan and Karen Bannen.

“When I went to run in the back door, that’s when the homeowner ran out the back door and met me,” Straub says. He was covered in black.”

Ryan Bannen told Straub that his bed-ridden mother was still stuck inside.

“He broke out some windows with his hand to try and get smoke out,” Straub says, “and that’s when I went and ran and got my splitting maul out of the garage and started breaking windows. That’s what he wanted me to do to try and get smoke out to try and get his mom out.”

“I heard her,” Straub continues. “She was screaming for help and I was standing right outside the window. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t even see her. And her bed was right up against the window. That’s how thick the smoke was.”

Fire crews got on the scene just after that.

“The first crew in was able to locate her in her bed and they brought her out immediately,” Belding Fire Chief Gregg Moore says.

Moore says the woman was taken to Spectrum Butterworth in Grand Rapids, where she died a few hours later.

Ryan Bannen was hospitalized with burns to his arms and the damage to his hands from breaking windows during rescue attempts. Investigators will try to determine a cause to the fire later this week.