EAST TAWAS – A March 1 structure fire at an East Tawas residence is still being investigated, said Michigan State Police (MSP) Trooper Robert Blair.
“The cause of the fire has been determined to be intentionally set according to the MSP fire investigator,” he advised.
“The fire is believed to be intentionally set based on the fresh footwear impressions leading to and from the residence, where other footwear impressions were absent in the immediate area,” Blair elaborated. “In addition to that, the fire has been ruled intentionally set while eliminating accidental causes.”
At press time, no suspects had been identified.
“At this time we are awaiting any tips, information, or any video surveillance from the public to assist in solving this case,” Blair stated, adding that authorities are actively investigating the incident.
Anyone with information about the fire, or who may have video footage from the area, is asked to contact Blair via phone call or text message at 989-390-6108.
There is also a sign affixed to the structure by the Detroit Crime Commission, advising that there are arson rewards of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and/or prosecution of arsonists in Michigan.
Anyone with such tips may contact Arson Control at 1-888-44-ARSON.
As recently reported, the blaze broke out at about 3:10 a.m. in a residence located at 131 Warren Ave., in the Tawas Lake area.
East Tawas Fire Department (ETFD) Chief Bill Deckett said that those from the ETFD and Tawas City Fire Department were dispatched to the incident, where arriving units found heavy flames showing on one side of the cabin.
He shared that firefighters quickly put water on the dwelling next door – which had windows breaking and siding smoking from the heat – then attacked the main fire.
According to Deckett, the Oscoda Township Fire Department was called in to assist with final extinguishment as firefighters rotated in and out, taking shifts then going into the department rescue vehicles to warm up and take off wet, frozen gear.
He noted that firefighters left the scene at about 8 a.m., and there was no one in the structure at the time of the incident.
The owners of the single-story dwelling are from Dearborn and Deckett said that the 827-square-foot home had an estimated value of $68,000, with the loss reported to be approximately $50,000.
He stated at the time that an MSP tracking dog was called to follow the tracks leading to and from the structure, and that the MSP Fire Investigator was on scene later that afternoon, working to determine the cause.