Family Caught in House Fire Awoken by 11-year-old

Smoke and flames served as a wake-up call for one Clare County family.

Seven people inside may never have escaped the early morning fire that consumed most of the interior of their house if an 11-year-old relative hadn’t woken up his family. 

The fire started around 6 a.m. Saturday and gutted most of the building’s interior.

Carol and Larry Forkum were hosting a few relatives and dog-sitting at the time.

Their 11-year-old great nephew smelled smoke and woke the others still sleeping inside.

With his help, everyone, including four dogs, made it out safely — only one guinea pig died.

But the fire department isn’t sure whether the house itself is salvageable.

“Probably not a whole lot. Once you got a fire you got water smoke and smoke gets into everything,” Surrey Township Fire Chief Dave Williams said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.