Passerby and nearby firefighter save family from house fire

Posted at 5:14 AM, Apr 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-05 07:07:48-04

ORANGEVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- A family of five in Barry County has a passerby and a neighbor who happens to be a firefighter to thank for getting them out of their burning home early Wednesday.

At around 1:30 a.m., a man on his way to work driving on Bever Road noticed smoke coming from behind a home between Norris Road and Enzian Road. While he thought it was a bonfire, he still called 911. That's when he saw that the garage was on fire.

Dan Phillips, an Orangeville Township firefighter who lives nearby on Norris Road, arrived as the passerby, who remains unidentified, pounded on the door to wake the occupants. Phillips made his way inside and helped the family, including three children, get outside, said Orangeville Township Fire Chief Dan Boulter.

"I was just in the right place at the right time," Phillips said.

The fire spread to the house, eventually killing two goats that were part of the children's 4-H project. A dog and another goat got out with the family.

The American Red Cross arrived at the scene to help the family. The home is a total loss.

As the fire started in the garage, smoke alarms in the house were not set off before the family was awakened by the firefighter, the chief said.

Video: Firefighter shrugs off label of hero:

Video: Fire chief tells story + raw video: