Courtland Township home destroyed in afternoon blaze

Fire chief believes garage refrigerator source

by BETH ALTENA

photo by MICHILLE PREMER

A fire that may have started with a garage refrigerator destroyed a home and killed the family dog, according to Courtland Township Fire Chief Mickey Davis. A 911 call at 4:32 p.m. Friday, April 27 brought firefighters to a home at 9110 Whitall Avenue.

“The garage was pretty much down and the fire had gone to the attic of the home,” said Davis.

He said there were several teenage boys in the home at the time the fire started and one had attempted to put the blaze out with a water hose. “He was pretty scratched up and was treated by Rockford Ambulance at the scene.”

Photo by MICHELLE PREMER

The fire in the garage was fueled by the fact that the garage door was slightly open, creating a wind tunnel effect that increased the ferocity of the flames.

“The house is still standing but it’s probably a total loss,” Davis said. “As far as content, some of the downstairs maybe salvageable but if it was upstairs it was toasted.”

Davis said he doesn’t know what might have caused the refrigerator to catch fire, speculating that it could have been a problem with the plug or a mouse could have  chewed on a wire.

“If people have older refrigerators or freezers, they probably shouldn’t, because they use so much juice,” said Davis, “but I’ve never seen one cause a fire before. This is a first for me.”

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