COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - The Branch County Sheriff’s Department says two off-duty deputies rescued a man from his burning home moments after an explosion just before noon yesterday. Coldwater Fire Chief Rich Sherman said today the cause of the blast north of Coldwater remains under investigation but is believed to be a result of a natural gas leak inside the home possibly ignited by the kitchen stove or cigarette. Sherman said the lone occupant was Edward Yudes with the property owned by Tom Thomas.
Sheriff John Pollack says deputies Al Fleming and Greg Ware happened to be driving by the house at the corner of Marshall and Bidwell Roads and stopped after noticing the smoke from the blaze. According to Pollack, they found one side of the structure blown out, the basement on fire and Yudes standing inside in apparent shock attempting to call 9-1-1 with flames all around him. The deputies called 9-1-1, entered the house and located Yudes who wanted to stay put rather than abandon the home. They were able to convince him to leave and they were also able to safely remove three dogs in addition to using their vehicle to pull the man’s truck next to the home away from the fire after they couldn’t find the keys.
The deputies escaped injury although Pollack noted it was clearly a close call, saying the heat melted their coats and shoes. Yudes suffered second degree burns and cuts, was checked out by medics on scene but didn’t go to the hospital. A total of 7 dogs survived the explosion. Firefighters were on the job for 3 hours and were assisted by a tanker from the Quincy Fire Department.