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March 19, 2014

Two homes lost to fire

CENTRAL LAKE — An explosion pierced the nighttime silence in Antrim County.

Michael Wolski said it was the loudest noise he’s ever heard.

The thunderous bang startled Wolski from his slumber Tuesday at about 3 a.m. He looked out the window before getting out of bed and saw the bright light from the flames burning his neighbor’s vacation home.

The fire eventually destroyed the unoccupied residence — one of two homes that burned down in Antrim County early Tuesday. No one was hurt in either incident and, as Wolski said, things could have been worse.

“Our guardian angels were out there,” he said. “We are very fortunate. We are very happy no one was hurt.”

Firefighters from Central Lake Fire Department were dispatched to the home on Intermediate Lake Drive after Wolski called 911.

Wolski reported a gas problem at the residence the day before, in addition to hearing the explosion at the time of the fire, but Central Lake Fire Chief Bill Chapman said the cause remains under investigation.

Flames also damaged one side of Wolski’s home, and the explosion scattered debris throughout the area, Wolski said.

Chapman estimated Wolski’s home sits about 60 feet from the destroyed residence.

Fire crews from Banks Township and Bellaire Fire Department assisted Central Lake firefighters at the scene.

Another fire destroyed a home on Musser Road in Mancelona early Tuesday.

Flames fully engulfed the home by the time fire crews arrived at about 5 a.m., Star Township Fire Chief Pete Hoogerhyde said, but two individuals who were inside when the fire started escaped.

Firefighters were unable to drive fire trucks up the residence’s steep, narrow seasonal driveway. Instead, they ran about 1,000 feet of hose from trucks parked along Musser Road up to the flaming structure, Mancelona Fire Chief Ed Sayre said.

Sayre said investigators believe the fire started in a wood-burning stove.

South Torch Lake firefighters assisted the crews from Mancelona and Star Township.

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