Manistee Family Loses Home And Pets In Fire

Fire displaced a family of five — and killed several pets in Manistee County on the coldest night of the year.

The fire started somewhere in the basement of the home on Hancock Street around 6:30 p.m. last night.

The deputy fire chief says smoke and flames were coming out the back of the house when they arrived.

Two adults and a child did get out — but were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

The Herbert family is now just trying to get a handle on what has happened and move on.

“All I remember is being in the basement. I heard a loud explosion. I turned around and the whole basement was engulfed in flames,” said Leah Herbert.

A normal night shattered by a loud boom.

The fire department suspects it began in the furnace.

“She saw fire when she came our of her bedroom and she ran upstairs and let the others know there was a fire in the house,” said the deputy fire chief Heath Darling.

Luckily the fire department’s back door is only 100 feet away.

Crews were able to respond in two minutes.

“The occupants that were there at the time of the fire went across the street here,” Darling said. “The chief went over and did a size up while guys geared up and got their truck over there.”

Despite the quick response, the family says the home cannot be saved.

Two cats and two dogs were also lost in the fire.

Leah tried rescue them, but fire crews pulled her away.

“I kicked open the front door tried getting in to get them but they got me out and told me to stay in the fire department,” she said.

The Herberts got out of the hospital last night and are in good health.

They’re now staying with a relative.

“We’re just trying to move on and bury our pets,” Leah said.

Darling says to never re-enter a burning house after you’ve escaped to save belongings or pets.

They’re still investigating the cause of last night’s fire.