2016-11-24 / Local News

Unlikely fire takes out Jag and homework of NMC student

By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff


A DOWNED TREE limb and power line was the cause of the Saturday fire that destroyed two vehicles on St. Joseph Street near M-204 in Lake Leelanau. A DOWNED TREE limb and power line was the cause of the Saturday fire that destroyed two vehicles on St. Joseph Street near M-204 in Lake Leelanau. When Charlie Brookfield, 21, went back to his classes at Northwestern Michigan College this week he had a pretty good excuse for not having his homework done.

No, the dog didn’t eat it.

His 1998 Subaru and his school books were destroyed by fire Saturday as it was parked along a street in Lake Leelanau.

“He’s a young man and he’s a college student so he had quite a lot in his car, all his worldly possessions,” said Lisa Brookfield, his mom.

Lisa Brookfield’s 2004 Jaguar was also destroyed in the incident, which she described as “bizarre.”

High winds that reached speeds of 50 to 55 mph blew down a tree limb that landed on the power line and caught fire. The line eventually broke and slithered around on the ground, where it came into contact with the tires of Charlie’s Suburu.

The Suburu and Brookfield’s Jaguar parked behind it were both soon in flames. Both cars were parked on the street near their home at 202 St. Joseph St.

Leland fire and rescue personnel got to the fire right away, but couldn’t douse the fire until Consumers Energy showed up to shut off power to that line.

Fire Chief Rick Royston said there was nothing anybody could do before then.

“Unfortunately, by that time the cars were completely burnt,” Royston said.

The fire started at about 3 p.m. By 6 p.m. the street was cleared and it was all over, Brookfield said.

“The cars are a total loss,” Brookfield said.

There was no damage to Brookfield’s home or to any nearby homes, she said, even though high winds were fanning the flames.

“Fortunately it was just the cars,” Brookfield said.

Cars owned by neighbors were nearby, but spared.

“They were all just parked in a good spot,” she said.

Brookfield said she and her husband Tracy were talking just the day before about how much they enjoy driving around in their Jag.

“And the next day it’s on fire,” she said.

Since the fire, she said her uncle has been sending her links to Jags that are for sale on web sites.

“I did love that car,” Brookfield said. “It’s just a car. But I wouldn’t mind having another one.”

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