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May 24, 2013

Three dogs die in house fire on Parkdale

Homeowners at work when blaze ignites

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

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Firefighters work to extinguish a residential fire in the 500 block of Parkdale the morning of May 22.

A house fire in the 500 block of Parkdale caused extensive property damage and took the lives of three family pets the morning of May 22.

Fire Chief John Cieslik said the Rochester Fire Department was dispatched to the residential structure fire after a neighbor reported flames coming out the front of the house at approximately 9:30 a.m.

“When we arrived on the scene at 9:35 a.m., there was a lot of fire on the first floor, and the police were already starting to evacuate the houses next door, on both sides. They were a big help to us because they were able to determine whose house it was. They called the residents’ work to find out that they were at work and not at home, so we knew that nobody was in the house, except for the family’s three dogs,” he said. “When I got on the scene I called for assistance from the Rochester Hills Fire Department … so they responded and helped us out.”

An “aggressive interior attack” was initiated, Cieslik said, but the first in-hose crew was unable to open the front door.

“They used a tool to break the lock, but the door would only move one or two inches, so then they had to use a tool to break out the front window and they had to climb into the smoke and fire through that front window,” he said, adding that firefighters later discovered a very large desk that prevented the front door from being opened.

Cieslik described the blaze as “difficult,” explaining it spread quickly due to the balloon construction of the house.

“In other words, it has 2-by-4s that run from the first floor, all the way to the attic. The fire got into the walls and up into attic, so not only did we have to put out the fire on the first floor, but the guys had to go up to the second floor and gain access to the attic and start fighting in the attic area also,” he said.

The fire was deemed “under control” by 9:50 a.m., Cieslik said, however, additional areas of fire inside the home were soon discovered and extinguished. The fire was officially declared out at 10:20 a.m.

Although no people were injured, the blaze — which was determined to have started in the southwest corner of the home — claimed the lives of three family dogs. Cieslik said the fire caused extensive fire damage on the first floor and a lot of smoke damage to the second floor.

Investigators have deemed the fire “accidental” in nature, but Cieslik said an exact cause was not determined.

“Because of the heavy damage where the fire started, we were not able to determine exactly what caused it,” he said.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.