GRAND HAVEN, MICH. - UPDATE: Jon Carlson, 71, died on Sunday morning from the smoke inhalation he sustained in the fire.
Police say the fire started on the front porch and was caused by cigarettes disposed in a planter.
ORIGINAL: A neighbor said it was Jon Carlson, 71, who firefighters carried out of the home after knocking down some of the fire shortly after her 4:30 a.m. call.
Jon’s wife, Linda, 64, and her mother, 85, were able to evacuate the burning home on their own.
Grand Haven Department of Public Safety Lt. Clint Holt said the women suffered minor injuries, were taken to North Ottawa Community Hospital where they were treated and released.
An ambulance transported Jon Carlson to the local hospital, where officials initially planned to transport him by helicopter to Grand Rapids.
Holt said the helicopter was canceled when the man was determined to be stable enough to go by ambulance to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.
His condition was unknown as of mid-Saturday morning.
Their dog was found deceased inside the home.
Neighbor Kyle Roffey said she saw a flickering light from her bedroom just before 4:30 a.m., looked out the window and saw flames coming from her neighbor’s house across the street. She called 911.
“I went over there and started pounding on the windows,” Roffey said. “It was very frustrating. I couldn’t get to the porch because it was on fire.”
Roffey, joined by other neighbors, ran around the house and found the female residents, who had exited via a back door.
“She was yelling for her husband to come out,” Roffey said of her neighbor, Linda.
Roffey said she took the women to her house to get some warmer clothing before they went to the hospital.
Holt said first responders found the women outside, but learned that the man was trapped inside.
He was unconscious when located on the first floor of the residence.
Holt said at first they thought the man was dead, but was glad to report the man was still alive and being treated for severe smoke inhalation.
“Kudos to the first responders,” Holt said.
Firefighters knocked down the blaze right away, but it kept flaring up as it snuck through voids in the walls due to the older home being remodeled over the years.
The fire was declared out at 7:30 a.m.
Holt said it appears the fire started in the area of the front porch, although it was not known whether the fire started on the outside or inside of the house.
Two aerial fire trucks had ladders extended over the roof of the home located at the corner of Fifth and Adams streets on the north side of Grand Haven, in an area next to the Grand Landing development.
Public safety officers were assisted by firefighters from Grand Haven Township, Spring Lake Township and Ferrysburg. Also assisting at the scene were the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police and North Ottawa Community Hospital paramedics.
Neighbor Charlene Knuth said Jon Carlson grew up in the neighborhood and inherited the house from his aunts. She said she has also lived in the neighborhood all of her life.
“It has been in the same family over 100 years,” she said.
Knuth said she always used to see Carlson walking his dog around the neighborhood.
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the WZZM 13 app now.
© 2017 Grand Haven Tribune