Niles family loses home, pets in fire

NILES, Mich. -- A Niles family lost their home and two pets in a grease fire that got out of control. Firefighters say the fire serves as a reminder to always have a fire extinguisher handy.

"It's like all those tragic events that people think, 'Oh, it'll never happen to me.' And then they do," said Gary Brovold Niles Charter Township Fire Chief.

Firefighters from the Niles Charter Township Fire Department rushed to the home on Stateline Road Monday afternoon.

When they got there, the flames were already out of control.

Michael Young, the homeowner, was inside cooking French fries when a grease fire started and got out of hand.

"My kids are at school, and I don't even know how I'm going to look them in the face when they get here," said Young.

Most of his family's possessions burned up.

He and his fiance are trying to stay positive but with two children, and another one on the way, it's a tough reality to deal with.

"Hopefully, this message will get out to everybody, that you need to make sure that you got a fire extinguisher, and you have to be careful, because things can get out of control real fast. This was our home, and we lost it because of that," said Young.

The fire was so intense, two of Young's pets died.

Firefighters say as sad as that is, the damage could've been much worse.

"There's kids that live here, there's other adults that live here, they could've had a totally different tragic event here. So we're asking him and the family to count their blessings and be thankful nobody other than a few animals were hurt," said Brovold.

Brovold is hoping others in Michiana will learn from this family's mistake, and review their fire safety plan.

Firefighters here encourage you to reach out to them if you have any doubts about the quality of your smoke alarm or fire extinguisher. In some townships, fire departments offer alarms for free.

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