Stove used as heater destroys home in Jackson County

MICHIGAN CENTER, Mich. (WLNS) — A woman from mid-Michigan is homeless after a fire destroyed her home.

The house on Fifth Street in Michigan Center is now nothing but a memory.

It was burned down, demolished, and wiped away in less than 24 hours.

“It was a relatively small house. And when our officers arrived, there was flames showing from the structure,” said Deputy Director Christopher Boulter of Blackman-Leoni Township Department of Public Safety.

Firefighters from Blackman-Leoni and Jackson fought the blaze Sunday morning, but they couldn’t keep it from spreading.

“It was very cluttered, contained a large amount of items. And the homeowner was heating her home with a stove,” Boulter said.

Investigators don’t know why the homeowner was using the stove to heat the house.

It appeared her utilities were turned on.

However, they want to make it clear that using a stove this way is very dangerous.

“We have all sorts of burner elements, whether it’s an open flame or whether it’s radiant heat that can catch something on fire,” Boulter said.

Boulter believes having a small house packed full of items and pets may have contributed to the fire.

The woman was not home when the fire started.

But six dogs were trapped in the house when it broke out.

Only one of the six survived.

Consumers Energy says it has programs in place to help people with their energy bills, so something like this doesn’t happen.

“The key is to pick up that phone early and admit that you’re having trouble paying your bill,” said Spokesman Terry DeDoes.

Consumers Energy has funds available through their company or outside agencies to help people with bills, along with protection and payment plans to avoid shut-offs.

“There’s a winter protection plan, and a senior protection plan that protects those 65 and over for shutoff all winter long, as well as others who qualify for that program,” DeDoes said.

For information on energy assistance call 211 or Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050.

You can also learn more on the Consumers website: https://new.consumersenergy.com/residential/programs-and-services/payment-assistance

The woman who lived at the house is getting help from the American Red Cross.

Authorities from Leoni Township condemned the house Sunday afternoon.

By Monday morning, the structure was cleared from the property, leaving an empty lot.

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