Niles family homeless after early-morning fire

Niles, Mich. Firefighters say severe winds are to blame for an early morning fire that left one Niles family homeless.

The blaze broke out shortly before 3 a.m. Monday morning in the 23 hundred block of East Main Street in Niles. It’s the site of Birchcrest Estates, a mobile home and manufactured housing community.

At least 4 family members were inside the home at the time of the blaze.

Firefighters say a daughter was falling asleep in the living room when she heard the flames outside.

“She woke up kind of half dazed, looked out the window and saw fire outside,” said Gary Brovold of the Niles Charter Township Fire Dept.

The woman woke up her family and they exited the house safely.
Investigators believe the fire may have started underneath the trailer.
“For mobile homes it’s not unusual to have fires from underneath the trailer because a lot of your wiring is all run from underneath,” Brovold said.

Winds fueled the flames, which damaged nearby property and made the fire very difficult to extinguish.

“It looked like an inferno underneath their trailer,” said next door neighbor, Patty Sukich. “I've never seen anything like that. I've seen fires but it just looked like red flames everywhere, engulfed underneath it.”

The flames were so intense that the fire melted the metal siding on Sukich’s home.

“The flames were just shooting -- it looked like maybe 10 feet from the trailer and all I saw was they were blowing towards my truck,” she said.

The official cause of the fire is unknown – the Michigan State Fire Marshall will be out to investigate the scene on Tuesday.

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