Blaze Collapses Michigan Firehouse, Firefighter Injuried



Updated: 08-05-2005 10:51:53 AM



IAN C. STOREY
The Record Eagle


KALKASKA - A Bear Lake Township firefighter is in stable but serious condition after he and other members of the department battled an early morning blaze that destroyed their station.

Officials said Rolland Sargent, 48, of Kalkaska, is at Hurley Hospital in Flint with burns over 40 percent of his body after he was injured in a fire that gutted the township's fire station on M-72 Thursday morning.

Officials said the fire was reported at 1:27 a.m. by a passerby, sending departments from Coldsprings, Excelsior, Kalkaska and Blue Lake townships scrambling to assist firefighters at the station.

Kalkaska County Sheriff William Artress said Sargent was trapped in the building and the station roof collapsed before he could be rescued by other fire personnel.

"The fire chief and the assistant fire chief are pretty upset to see one of their fellow firefighters get hurt like that," he said.

Artress said Bear Lake firefighters repeatedly entered the burning station in an attempt save equipment from being destroyed.

Fire officials are unsure how much it will cost to replace lost equipment and the building, he said.

"There was one vehicle left in the building that was completely destroyed," he said. "The others they got out have smoke damage and burn marks. A lot of their turn-out gear is also gone.

"As for the building, it is basically gutted. The only thing really standing is the cement walls," he said.

Artress said the cause of the fire is still being investigated with the assistance of state police fire marshals.

"At this time, there isn't any indication of arson, but until the state inspectors finish, we won't know the cause for sure," he said.

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