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Harrison Family Loses Home To Possibly Suspicious Fire

Promo Image: Harrison Family Loses Home To Possibly Suspicious Fire

"When we show up, it’s coming out every door and window,” says Harrison Fire Chief Chris Damvelt.

A Clare County family returned home from Harrison’s firework show to see flames ripping through their house.

Now, the Harrison fire chief says it could be suspicious.

Neighbors started calling the family the night before Independence Day, saying they heard a loud boom before seeing the house erupt in flames.

That’s why State Police and deputies are taking extra caution, looking into what really happened.

9&10’s Cody Boyer and photojournalist Jeff Blakeman met the family and give us an up close look at the damage.


"It’s really unfortunate,” says Nancy Miller, who lives next door. “That’s someone’s home. That’s someone’s livelihood. That’s someone’s everything. It’s tragic to see it."

The fire that destroyed this home happened just hours after the family living inside left to enjoy a night of Independence Day festivities.

Neighbors say it started with a loud boom.

“My mom had called because she lives next door to us and she called and said, hey, the neighbor’s home is up in flames,” Miller says.

The Harrison Community Fire Department started getting similar reports.

“The neighbors said that they’ve heard some explosion type of deal, but this time of year at that time of night, fireworks are going off all over the place so we are not sure if anything is tied together,” Damvelt says.

Three fire departments from Harrison, Clare and Gladwin fought the fire, saving four dogs from a backyard pen.

They used Long Lake nearby as a water source.

Chief Damvelt says the origin of the fire raises many questions.

“Anything is possible,” Damvelt says. “The fire was coming out the windows and doors. There wasn’t a spot where it burned through a roof or something like that."

“It’s sad,” Miller says. “There are a lot of memories there."

For neighbors like Nancy, those questions are mixed with shock.

“My great-grandma was raised in the home and built the bar (down the street),” Miller says. “It used to be a restaurant. My great-grandmother spent a lot of time in that home."

We did speak with the family, who wished not to be on camera.

They say their home was insured, but they did lose everything inside.