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F.H. Township home destroyed

A Fair Haven Township home that appeared to suffer minor damage in a blaze last week burned down after firefighters left. The South Haven Fire Depart-ment was called out about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, to a home at 19485 Estes Road, Fire Chief Brian Lemke said. The older home about 10 miles north of the Fair Haven townsite received "minimal damage, more water damage than anything," Lemke said. Owner Corrine Dwyer and other residents weren't hurt and were able to stay in another building on the property. When firefighters left about 3 a.m. Friday, Jan. 10, they were satisfied the fire was out, Lemke said. But when the department returned about 4:15 a.m. after being called out again, only one wall was standing, he said. Lemke called it "a very surprising turn of events ... when you come back an hour and 15 minutes later and the house is totally gone." The house and contents were insured. The owner had been burning four candles in the house, the fire chief said. A representative from the state fire marshal's office was at the scene Friday and said the cause was undetermined but the probable cause was the candles, according to Lemke. Dwyer couldn't be reached. The Clearwater Fire Department trucked water to the fire on the second call. Thursday was Lemke's first day on the job as fire chief after being elected on Wednesday. It was "not a way I wanted to start it by any means," Lemke said. Story from the Annandale Advocate, photo from Tri-County News.