Fire Engulfs Okemos Home - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Local Attorney Hospitalized After House Fire

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A local attorney is in critical condition Tuesday night after his Okemos home went up in flames early this morning.

The house is located in the 3700 block of Beech Tree lane in Okemos.

The blaze torched a beautiful home and devastated a prominent mid-Michigan family.

Early Tuesday morning flames consumed attorney Norm Gaffney's home.

"Even though the house is a total loss, we're happy because potentially could have been a lot more injuries here, only one of the homeowners was hurt," said Bill Priese, of the Meridian Township Fire department.  

After treatment at Ingham Regional, Gaffney was airlifted to the University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor.

Dr. Michael Duda has lived next door to the Gaffney's since 1997.

"The broad base of the flames seemed to be as wide as the house," said Duda.

He says police woke him up around 3:45 a.m.. and told him he had to leave.

"I for sure thought the trees would catch on fire and there's a possibility it could have spread to the other houses," said Duda. 

But Meridian Township firefighters, with the help of Lansing, East Lansing and Delhi Township's departments, contained the blaze to the one property.

"It's the kind of a big house that's almost considered a commercial structure, you go away from your 1-2 thousand square foot homes to your 5, 7 thousand square foot houses. It becomes a little more of a challenge," said Priese.

Because of the home's size and the extent of the damage, firefighters say it will take time to figure out what sparked the fire that hospitalized the homeowner and destroyed his home. 

Gaffney's wife was also home when the fire started. She escaped unharmed.

Wednesday, officials say it will take several days to determine the cause of the fire.

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