By Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune - March 27, 2017
A Sawyer man escaped injury when a massive house fire destroyed his home early Saturday morning.
Heat from the stove pipe from Daniel Letterman's wood burning stove set the ceiling on fire in his home sometime after 5 a.m. Saturday, Letterman said.
He had lit the stove to cook breakfast and heat his home on Smith Street just north of Robinson. He ate his breakfast then saw fire coming from the ceiling around the stove pipe. Robinson said he tried to put the fire out and got the garden hose but the fire had gotten out of hand so he ran to Sawyer Mayor Mike Vanranken's home to call for help. Letterman had left his phone in the house.
Firefighters were alerted to the fire at 5:28 a.m. Units from Sawyer Fire Department, Township 12 and Pratt City firefighters responded to the fire. The house was totally involved and the wind was making fighting the fire difficult, said Vanranken.
"There was a good response from the firefighters. The wind did not help. The fire could have been much worse," Vanranken said.
Firefighters struggled to save the Swearinger home that is on the lot immediately north of Letterman's home and just feet away from the fire. Siding on the south side of the Swearinger home was melted but firefighters were able to save the home although a portion of the wooden fence between the properties was destroyed.
The 100-year-old Christian Church on the lot immediately to the south of the fire suffered blown out windows and water inside the church. The heat pealed the paint on the north side of the church and melted plastic siding on the east end of an addition to the east side of the church.
It took about two hours to get the fire completely out. The fire leveled the house except for a small portion of the east end of the house that was still standing but heavily damaged with fire, smoke and water. Firefighters were able to salvage only a few items from the house.
"I want to thank everyone from the fire department," Letterman said.
Letterman was not injured in the fire and he was the only one living in the home. None of the firefighters were injured.