ALPENA, Mich. — A house fire on Saturday claimed the life of one and sent another to the hospital.
The Alpena Fire Department arrived on LaForest Ave. at around 11:20 a.m. to find fire and smoke coming from a broken front window of the house and both Mary and William Smith trapped inside. A city police officer and an off-duty firefighter initially tried to rescue them but was unsuccessful.
Responding firefighters were able to remove the 76-year-old woman from the house and transport her to MidMichigan Health Center in Alpena. Fire Captain, Andy Marceau was one of the first on the scene. “We were able to get one victim out initially and transported to a Michigan medical center, and then we performed another attempted rescue and we were unable to get the second victim out,” he said.
A city police officer was injured while attempting rescue and was treated and released from the hospital. Investigation has determined that the fire most likely started in the front room where the couple was sitting. The cause is believed to be 84-year-old Mr. Smith’s oxygen system catching fire from him smoking.
There were also no working smoke alarms in the house.