Fire, smoke damage house

ALPENA – The Alpena Fire Department responded to a report of a house fire on E. Crapo St. at 2:40 p.m. and upon arrival found heavy smoke coming out of the ground floor of the home. All off-duty firefighters were called to the scene along with Alpena Township Fire Department for mutual aid.

Chief Bill Forbush said when crews first arrived at the home already was smoke charged and heavy smoke was coming from broken windows on the side of the home.

“Once units arrived they weren’t able to make entry through the front and were forced back by heat and flames,” Forbush said. “They had to make another attempt through the back.”

Firefighters used a fan to exhaust heat and smoke from the basement and ground floor before crews could enter to extinguish the fire. They also used a positive pressure ventilation blower to raise the pressure in the house higher than the pressure outside of the house to force the smoke and fire out, and cut a hole in the roof to allow superheated gases to escape vertically, allowing for firefighters to enter the rest of the house sooner.

Several family dogs were in the home at the time of the fire and were brought safely out.

“We found three dogs in the house,” Chief Bob Adrian said. “One was in pretty tough shape when we brought him out, but we gave him some oxygen and he revived fairly quickly. We had heard there were potentially more animals inside, but in doing a search of the home, could not find any more in the house.”

Fire crews remained on scene for three hours to overhaul the house and look for fire extension into the walls and attic, clearing the scene around 5:15 p.m. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, which could be hampered because of broken water lines in the house. Adrian said water was flowing into the basement and would have to be shut off by United Water.

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.