Family, pets safe following Tuesday house fire in Esky

ESCANABA – Three family members and five pets are safe and sound today following a fire that was contained to their home’s basement in Escanaba Tuesday morning.

Escanaba Public Safety was dispatched to the home of Merry Jo Gagnier at 314 S. 12th St. at 9:34 a.m. for a structure fire.

“Upon arrival, officers observed heavy smoke coming from the residence,” stated Capt. Jamie Segorski in a news release. “Officers were able to extinguish the fire in the basement before it spread to the main floor.”

When interviewed by phone later in the day, the homeowner’s daughter, Emily Gagnier, 27, said the fire was mainly confined to her brother’s bedroom in the basement.

Joshua, 29, was in his bedroom at the time of the fire and suffered minor burns on one hand and both feet but is doing all right, the sister added.

The siblings, along with their mother, escaped from the house during the fire and managed to take their two dogs and two of their cats with them.

One cat remained inside and was rescued by Sgt. Jamie Silverstone. He said it looked like the cat hadn’t survived but when he pushed on the animal’s chest a couple times, it came to. While at the scene, the officer later checked on the cat to see how it was doing.

Emily said family and friends have offered them a place to stay but they will likely stay in a motel for now. Their pets are at a relative’s house.

Segorski said the Gagnier home was insured and sustained heavy smoke and water damage.

“During the investigation, it was confirmed that the fire did start in the basement and it has been classified as accidental,” the captain stated. The fire continues to be investigated, he added, noting its origin may have been electrical-related.

Emily said she is thankful for all the help given to herself, her brother and her mother, who is a bartender at Cat-Man-Do’s in Escanaba.

“Thank you to the firefighters and family and friends for helping us out and being there,” Emily said, talking from her cell phone while looking at the damaged basement.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,