Police: 2 house fires in Holland not related

Damage from a house fire on 14th Street in Holland. (June 16, 2014)

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Two house fires in Holland which sparked within hours of each other are not believed to be related, according to police.

The first fire broke out around 11 p.m. Sunday in the 300 block of 14th Street.

Firefighters at the scene told 24 Hour News 8 that flames were showing on the first floor when they arrived.

The home was unoccupied, unfurnished, and under restoration by the landlord.

Police are calling the fire suspicious. Early damage estimates are around $65,000.

The second fire broke out just six blocks away in the 100 block of 11th Street around 12:30 a.m. Monday.

When firefighters arrived, the home was unoccupied. The fire was contained; however, the home is believed to be a total loss.

The daughter of the homeowner, Wanda Patzwaldt, told 24 Hour News 8 her 79-year-old mother Betty McDonald has lived in the home since 1970. Patzwaldt said her mother is a widow and was not in the home at the time of the fire because she got into a car crash the previous day and had a stroke after which she was hospitalized.

“She’s lost everything. Lost her car, lost her house all in the same day,” said Patzwaldt. “It’s an old house but there’s a lot of memories. We still have memories with her yet so that’s the main thing, just don’t know how we’re going to tell her.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation and is not believed to be related to the 14th Street Fire, according to police.

“This has never happened in my almost ten years here,” said Lieutenant John Vanderkooy with the Holland Fire Department.

Three firefighters were treated for minor injuries due to heat exhaustion, but they did not go to the hospital.

Holland Fire officials and investigators are asking to speak to anyone that may have any information about either fire.

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