World War II Vet and Family Escape House Fire and Explosion

Posted at 5:48 AM, Jun 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-02 07:38:09-04

day pic ranch drive house fire and explosion 6 02 14GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (June 2, 2014) — One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion and three people got out of a home safely after it caught fire overnight on June 2, and firefighters say it was smoke detectors that saved the family’s lives.

It started around 3 a.m. in the 1700 block of Ranch Drive. Firefighters believe it started in the back porch and traveled to the attic. One neighbor who called 911, Rusty Pummil, tells FOX 17 he heard explosions coming from the garage.

“The propane started going off. They were like bombs, just ‘boom, boom, boom’,” he said.

FOX 17 was told that there were several small propane tanks in the garage from camping that started exploding during the fire. The garage and vehicles inside were destroyed. ranch drive house fire and explosion 6 02 14

However, firefighters were actually able to go inside and fight the fire, instead of battling it from the outside. In addition, much of the fire was trapped in the ceiling. The homeowner, a World War II veteran, his son, daughter-in-law, and a dog all got out safely.

The firefighter who was treated for heat exhaustion is expected to be okay.