Fatal fire linked to space heater

Emergency crews at a house fire in the 4000 block of Circle Inn Drive in Orangeville Township. (Feb. 13, 2014)
Emergency crews at a house fire in the 4000 block of Circle Inn Drive in Orangeville Township. (Feb. 13, 2014)

ORANGEVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) – A fire that raced through a Barry County home, killing the 81-year-old resident, has been linked to a space heater.

A state fire marshal investigator told 24 Hour News 8 the space heater was located in the laundry room in the back portion of the home and being used to thaw frozen pipes.

The fire killed 81 year-old Wanda Cooper.

The investigator said damage was so extensive that it is unclear how the heater actually caused the blaze.

Most often when a heater is involved, it’s because the unit was too close to combustible material, or had overloaded an electrical circuit.

A Barry County sheriff’s deputy discovered the blaze at 4577 Circle Inn Dr., south of Gun Lake in Orangeville Township after checking out a disconnected 911 call.

The home was engulfed in flames when the deputy arrived.

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