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Cass County family loses everything due to grass fire spreading

CASS CO., Mich. -- Firefighters are on the scene of a large grass fire that forced some people from their homes due to fear the fire would destroy their homes and property too.

Fire crews and neighbors told us that the wind blew a small back yard trash fire out of control. The fire was started by the folks who live in the home on Tharp Lake Road as a fire to burn trash. Then it spread to the family's garage. Soon after, it spread to their house.

Neighbors said they were horrified as they watched the flames spread that fast across the yard and then into the garage and home. They said the dead grass went up so quickly, they were shocked.

A 17 year old girl ended up calling 911 as she was sitting on her Aunt's backyard porch enjoying the breeze. Jackie Elam her Aunt said after they called 9-1-1 it seemed like 45 minutes before fire crews arrived. "The fire trucks never comes, never comes, and then finally a little bitty truck comes and it was too late, I mean they didn't even have water," said Elam. 

Porter Township Fire Captain Matt Walker said, contrary to what neighbors said, he was on the scene in just nine minutes arriving at 3:29pm. "There is a burn ban in effect, there is no open burning right now, everything is way too dry . "The homeowner was buring trash and thought it was out, this is a classic example of what can happen," said Walker.  He said he arrived in the department's grass fire truck because the fire was called in to dispatch as a grass fire not a structure. He said the truck had enough water to put out a grass fire. He said there are no records on when each individual tanker truck showed up with mass supplies of water to fight the additional blazes.

An ambulance rushed Dennis Sampson, the son of the man who owns the home, to the hospital for medical treatment. Jeffery Sampson, Sampson's son also lives at the residence with his fiancee Brittany Rosell. Rosell's father Denny also lives at the home.

The Red Cross was on the scene assisting the couple and Brittany's father. If you would like to donate clothes or other items you can do so by calling a family friend at (574) 276-6310 for more information.

The family was able to get two family dogs out of the burning home, however the family cat may not have been so lucky. Brittany Rosell said she feared the animal may have died inside the home. 

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