WHITEHALL – The day started early for the local fire departments last Sunday, May 23.

White Lake Fire Department chief Pete McCarthy said his department dispatched firefighters at 1:14 a.m. to respond to a house fire located at the 900 block of Lakeview Street. With assistance from other fire departments, the fire was quickly put out within 30 minutes of their arrival.

“It was relatively large. It was a duplex and it had a shared deck in between the two garages and that is where the fire started,” said McCarthy.

“It burned for about 30 minutes before anyone had noticed there was a fire. And at that point it had broken through into the actual occupancy, setting off smoke alarms and alerting the occupants.”

One set of occupants were able to get out safely and suffered no injuries. The occupants living on the other side of the duplex were on vacation.

“It was called in by some passersby [sic], a Howmet employee that was walking on their break,” said McCarthy.

McCarthy said that they aren’t sure what might have caused the fire and the investigation hasn’t been finished yet, but at this point they do know it is accidental in nature and they are wrapping up the investigation with the Michigan State Police Investigation Team.

“Officially, it will be an accidental fire with an accidental cause. We are not able to rule out discarded smoking material. You know, fire consumes a lot of evidence,” said McCarthy.

The White Lake Fire Authority received fire assistance from Montague Fire District Authority, Blue Lake Fire Department, Dalton Township Fire Department and Muskegon Township Fire Department.

The fire department also received medical assistance from Pro-Med, the White Lake Police Department were also on the scene. Det. Brandon Mahoney has also been assisting in the investigation.

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