Woman, family dogs die from house fire in Orion Twp

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A neighbor's camera was rolling as fire tore through a house in Orion Township leaving a woman and her two dogs dead.

There were no hydrants on the street - so firefighters had to bring in water from another location.

"It went up so fast it was like a book of matches," said Butch Stemmer.

Stemmer says he heard the fire burning across the street before he ever saw it.

"Then all of the sudden big explosions started going off," he said.

The fire happened at 3 a.m. at a house on Vernita as 911 calls started coming into the Orion Township Fire Department.  Firefighters were unaware until they arrived at the scene, that a 54-year-old mother was inside.

"It was completely engulfed," said Stemmer. "It was bad."

Her body was discovered in a back bedroom. The two family dogs also found inside, all were unable to be rescued.

The victim’s husband and adults kids arrived home shortly after.  Neighbors say there was nothing anyone could have done at that point.

"He got here and the two sons and everybody were here,” Stemmer said. “By then they had just got it put out. But they knew it wasn't good.”

The heat from the flames lapped up against the house next door. Stemmer and others got that neighbor to safety.

There are no hydrants on the street, which meant the fire department had to bring in tanks of water. And while they did that, neighbors say the flames spread quickly.

In the aftermath, the damage done was devastating.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation but we are told it is thought to have started in the kitchen possibly from a thrown away cigarette that never extinguished.