Monday, August 3, 2009

Smoke detector alerts Vienna Township homeowner to fire

by Sarah Schuch Clio Messenger
Friday July 31, 2009, 5:57 PM
VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Michigan -- Mike Uhelski and his dog were able to escape safely from his burning Lake Road home Thursday night, thanks to a working smoke detector.
"I thought (the smoke alarm) was my alarm clock," he said. "I got up like I was getting up for work."
Uhelski, 37, said he got up as quick as he could and found his kitchen filled with smoke. The only thing he could think of was that it was coming from his basement, he said.
Firefighters were called to Uhelski's home at 5481 Lake Road at 11:01 p.m.
"The smoke detectors pretty much saved everybody's lives," Uhelski said. "(But) I want my house back. I lost everything I got."
He was, however, able to push out his 1971 Chevelle he had stored in his garage. He was not able to put in gear, though, and it rolled back into the ditch causing minor damage.
The car was his pride and joy, said Mike Uhelski's father, Joe Uhelski, who owns a house behind his son's.
Joe Uhelski said he could see the flames from his house as soon as his son called him and when he left around 3 a.m. the firefighters were still there.
Neighbors about six houses down were having a bonfire Thursday night, spotted the smoke and called 911, Joe Uhelski said.
Clio Area Fire Capt. Bob Mansfield said when firefighters arrived the home was engulfed in flames, and it took eight fire departments about six hours to put out the fire.Mike Uhelski still can't believe what happened.
"It's not fun at all," he said. "It's actually a sickening sight."
By Friday, Joe Uhelski was able to purchase some clothes and be put up in a hotel covered by his insurance.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined and is still under investigation.
Shannon Murphy contributed to this report.