- Associated Press - Thursday, February 6, 2014

THREE OAKS, Mich. (AP) - A house fire in a small southwestern Michigan village early Thursday morning killed four people, authorities said.

The blaze in Three Oaks started about 5 a.m., Berrien County Sheriff L. Paul Bailey said.

Authorities will not release the victims’ names until their next of kin were notified, said Village Manager Adam Umbrasas.

The victims were an elderly couple, their granddaughter and the granddaughter’s boyfriend, officials told reporters Thursday afternoon.

The fire was reported by someone driving by, according to WSBT-TV in South Bend.

Two of the victims were found in a living room. The body of at least one other victim was found in a bedroom. Autopsies were scheduled Friday.

A dog and three cats also died in the blaze, the TV station reported.

No working smoking detectors were found inside the house.

Umbrasas said the fire had affected the community of about 1,800 residents. Three Oaks is just north of the state line with Indiana, about 20 miles northwest of South Bend, Ind., and 95 miles southwest of Grand Rapids.

“Crowds of people were out there, and you could see the tears in people’s eyes,” Umbrasas told The Associated Press. “They’ve known these people all of their lives.”

A local church opened its doors to provide warmth, while neighbors gave firefighters and others coffee.

“It’s always powerful to see small town America come together in the face of tragedy,” he said.

The state fire marshal’s office is investigating the cause of the blaze.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide