RIVERTON TWP. — The quick action of a next door fire chief and a quick response from his fire department saved a Riverton man and a house this afternoon. Riverton Twp. Fire Chief Joe Cooper was at home when his pager alerted him to a fire next door at 4584 S. Morton Rd., home to his mother-in-law Jill Jones.
Cooper immediately ran to the house where neighbors were already helping Jones’ wheelchair-bound boyfriend, Steve Bell, get out of the house. They also were able to get a dog out of the house.
“I walked around the house to access the fire,” Cooper said. “I looked inside and the windows were already turning a black, a sign that fire is building up in the house. Oxygen fuels fire so Cooper started shutting all the open doors, hoping to slow the fire down. “At one point I called Central Dispatch and told them that the house was going to become eminently fully engulfed in flames,” he said. But a quick response from Riverton Twp. Fire Dept. prevented that from happening.
Jones, Bell and Jones’ sister, Merlene Pomranka, lived in the house. Jones and Pomranka had taken one of their dogs to the veterinarian. “My aunt said she thought she had left the stove on,” Tracy Cooper, the chief’s wife, said.
The house is owned by Hackert Farms. Cooper said the occupants had renters’ insurance.
Cooper could not confirm the cause of the fire but said he also had been told it may have been caused from the stove.
Bell said he wasn’t sure where they were going to stay but Cooper had requested help from the West Shore Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Pere Marquette Township Fire Department also assisted.