Investigation into cause of White Pigeon house fire ongoing

Fire kills pregnant woman, 7-year-old boy, sends another seven to the hospital

WHITE PIGEON — A pregnant woman and a seven-year-old boy were killed in a house fire Tuesday morning in White Pigeon.
Eleven individuals occupied the two-story residence, located in the 100 block of W. Chicago Ave. near S. Washington St., when the fire erupted around 3:15 a.m., according to White Pigeon Fire Chief Troy Andrews, who said the fire was under control sometime around 4 or 5 a.m.
Assistant Fire Chief Tyler Royce said the residence housed 13 individuals from multiple families but at the time of the fire, two individuals had left for work. Of the 11 persons occupying the home early Tuesday morning, nine escaped the fire, seven of which were transported by Three Rivers Health Emergency Response for treatment. Among those transported to the hospital, some received treatment for smoke inhalation, while others were treated for medical issues unrelated to the fire, Royce said.
The pregnant woman and seven-year-old boy who died in Tuesday’s fire were on the second floor of the home and couldn’t be reached by fire personnel. Two dogs were also located during the rescue mission, one of which was found dead in the basement of the home.
According to authorities, a 15-year-old dialed 911 this morning for help. Andrews described the scene that unfolded as the fire department arrived.
“We had most occupants outside. They were screaming and telling us there were still people inside. There was heavy fire coming out of the majority of the home, and the crew was faced with heavy fire and heat when entering the home, and we were unable to gain access to the victims,” Andrews said said.
Andrews and other fire personnel appeared grief stricken as they spoke of the tragedy Tuesday.
“It hits close to home. It is a small community. We have a pretty young fire department, (who have) young children. These children went to our school and our children go to school with them. It is very hard and emotional for us in this condition,” Andrews said.
The cause of the fire remains unknown, but the Michigan State Police Investigation Unit was working to determine the cause as of 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Royce said MSP might have “an idea of what may have contributed” to the fire by the end of the day. Specific details are still being investigated.
Assisting the White Pigeon Fire Department at the scene were Constantine Fire, Tri-Township Fire, the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department, St. Joseph County Victims Services, and Red Cross.
Samantha May can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or sam@threeriversnews.com
 

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