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Family, pets rescued from Dowagiac house fire

DOWAGIAC, Mich. -- Fire officials say four occupants and two dogs safely evacuated a house fire on Tuesday evening.

On May 28, fire crews were dispatched to a multi-story residence following reports of house fire.

At approximately 11:13 p.m., the Dowagiac and Wayne Township Fire Departments arrived to a residence in the 300 block of West High Street.

Dispatch relayed information that the home’s occupants were on the roof in need of rescue.

Indiana Lake Volunteer Fire Department was called to assist crews at the scene.

Within four minutes of the call, firefighters discovered two children, two adults and two dogs on the first-story roof of the home where they were rescued.

As fire crews entered the structure they encountered heavy smoke and intense heat while searching for the location of the fire. The fire was declared under control around 11:37 p.m.

Fire officials remained at the scene to continue the investigation until approximately 1 a.m.

A preliminary investigation revealed occupants were sleeping in an upstairs bedroom at the time the fire broke out when an adult male smelled smoke, alerting the others who exited safely through an upstairs window to the roof.

Pride Care Ambulance personnel evaluated the occupants at the scene.

One adult later sought medical evaluation for possible smoke inhalation and was released from Borgess Lee ER.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined however a preliminary investigation suggests candles left burning in a bathroom may have started the fire which spread to an unoccupied bedroom.

Fire officials say heat and smoke caused extensive damage throughout the home.

Pokagon Tribal police, Dowagiac Police Department, Pride Care Ambulance Service, SEMCO and Dowagiac Department of Public Services assisted at the scene.

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