Cause of July apartment fire remains undetermined

HOUGHTON – A state fire marshal has yet to determine the cause of a July 29 fire on Shelden Avenue, City Manager Eric Waara said at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

Waara said he has been trading voicemails with the owner of the building, who was out of town last week, about his future plans for the building. He said he would try to connect the owner with people who could help with cleanup.

Waara praised the performance of Houghton’s fire department, along with Hancock, Hurontown, Stanton Township departments and the Red Cross.

“There were firefighters who were just passing by and had their gear and stopped and said, ‘I’m here if you need me. I’ll stand here until you tell ’em to do something,'” he said.

City Council members agreed with Waara.

“I walked around that building, and to see that nobody got hurt, and that a 1-year-old baby got out of there, great job by the city of Houghton and everybody on the ground,” said Robert Megowen, mayor pro tem.

The city recently installed a hose connection to a fire hydrant on the parking deck behind the Douglass Agency. There was previously no water access on the deck, where a full-size fire truck could not go.

Waara said there were no problems on either Shelden or Montezuma avenues with water access during the fire.

“As hot as that got, it could have been a lot, lot worse,” he said.

An audience member also praised staff members at Armando’s Italian Restaurant for making sure Douglass House residents were safe.