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House fire kills one person in Port Huron

The house at 918 Erie in Port Huron, boarded up after a fire that caused the death of 64-year old Brian Barnes.
The house at 918 Erie in Port Huron, boarded up after a fire that caused the death of 64-year old Brian Barnes.

By Jim Bloch

A house fire in Port Huron has taken the life of a 64-year man.

The fire department responded to reports of a fire at a four-apartment house at 918 Erie Street at 1:42 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 4.

“A victim was found by Fire Department crews in the apartment of fire origin,” said the incident summary of the Port Huron Fire Department.

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On Jan. 7, the Times Herald reported that the victim’s name was Brian Barnes.

“Port Huron Fire Department companies were called to the scene of a structure fire, possibly involving an upstairs apartment, with that occupant refusing to leave,” the incident summary said.

Firefighters found a crowd of people standing in front of the house when they arrived. Port Huron Police Department units were already on the scene, attempting to help an upstairs tenant get out of the house.

“Initial reports from bystanders indicated that all occupants were out of the complex,” the report said. “Crews found smoke on both floors but no visible fire from the exterior. Crews did locate the main body of the fire in a downstairs apartment with fire extension into an upstairs apartment.”

Those were the only two apartments damaged.

After crews got the fire under control, they found Barnes in the apartment where the blaze originated.

“The victim was removed from the apartment and placed in the care of Tri-Hospital EMS,” the report said. “The victim was transported to McLaren Port Huron E/C, where he was later pronounced deceased.”

The fire departments in Port Huron Township and Fort Gratiot Township offered mutual aid during the incident.

Battalion Chief Tucker was the incident commander.The cause of Barnes’s death and the cause of the fire remain under investigation.

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