80-year-old war veteran killed in Holton Twp. house fire

Posted at 4:56 PM, Feb 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-03 18:38:57-05

Dave Proctor, 80, killed Tuesday in a house fire in Holton Township. (photo courtesy of family)

HOLTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- A house fire Tuesday afternoon has left an elderly man dead.

Muskegon County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Pat Herremans said the man was not able to make it out of the home in time and likely died from smoke inhalation. He said a family member found the man just inside the home as the fire began.

Family on scene identified the deceased man as 80-year-old Dave Proctor. He was unresponsive when firefighters pulled him from the home.

"It's just totally unexpected when something like this happens, it's such a tragedy," said Edward Duke, the victim's stepson.

"I thank God for the memories, he was a good stepdad."

Duke said Proctor, who suffered from several serious health issues, had been his stepfather since he was just 7 years old. He said Proctor was a U.S. Navy veteran, outdoorsman and just all around good guy.

I expected maybe Dave's health would take him but to be taken like this it's totally unexpected, like a shock," Duke said.

"It was pretty hard to hear that he had tried to make it and just didn't make it out."

Duke said Proctor's friend left the home Tuesday afternoon for about 45 minutes to get Proctor his medication. It was during that time the friend's daughter pulled up to the home to see flames shooting through the roof and called 9-1-1.

Officials from seven fire departments responded to the fire, which was reported at about 3:30 p.m. in the 6700 block of Swenson Road.

Crews worked for more than three hours to contain the blaze.  The cause of the fire is unknown at this time but Herremans said it could've possibly started in the home's basement in a work room near a wood stove.  Officials say the home is a total loss.