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Posted on Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 8:55 a.m.

Porch fire in Ann Arbor extinguished by jogger

By Jen Eyer

A fire reported this morning at 902 Baldwin Ave. in Ann Arbor was extinguished by a passerby before the fire department arrived.

Ann Arbor Fire Capt. Jim Budd said dispatch received a call at 7:42 a.m. saying a couch on the structure's front porch was on fire.

All six Ann Arbor Fire Department units responded, but when they arrived the fire had already been extinguished by a jogger using a garden hose, Budd said.

"We just went inside and checked for extension inside the structure," Budd said. "There was a little bit of smoke in the structure, but the fire was contained to the couch and a little bit of the porch."

No one was injured, and it is not known whether the occupants were aware of the fire. Officials are still on the scene. Budd estimated the damages at less than $500.

The cause of the fire is not yet known. will update this report as more information is available.

Jen Eyer is director of audience engagement for Contact her at or (734) 623-2577.

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Sun, Oct 2, 2011 : 10:09 a.m.

For the couple of people questioning the response, here's an education for you. When the FD gets a call for something like this, it comes over as a "reported structure fire". Not until the first unit arrives does the FD truly know what they have. The info was "flames visible on the porch." Remember the State street fire? Remember the student who passed away in that fire? I do. That fire came in as "structure fire - reports of flames on the porch". So that's why the FD responds with "all *5* trucks". The 6th truck is a battalion chief in a pickup truck. No water, no fire suppression equipment. Once it's reported that it's under control the remaining *4* fire trucks are release to return back to their areas.


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 6:03 p.m.

Now *that* is "Minnesota nice". Good job, jogger. Also, great that the resident wrote in. So often when we just hear one angle on a story, we tend to make rather extreme assumptions about whoever is involved. Much better to see it's a real, articulate person with a reasonable set of expectations and some recognition of what went wrong. Mostly, thank goodness no one was hurt.


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

Dot dash, agree..he had a lot of MN nice, too bad his team lost. I think it's also a lesson for the schools to mention the couch ban to all incoming students. It may save a life some day.


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 5:31 p.m.

Huh that explains it. If the jogger was from the Ann Arbor area, they would've known the proper response was to call the authorities and stand by. After all anyone that does respond to a critical incident is a wannabee, right? Good on the jogger for getting involved.


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.

How many more couch fires do there have to be before the students wake up and think "Hey these probably are a big fire hazard and we could die" Wake up, get the household furniture off your porch and save a life.


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

Personally, I like the "shotgun" approach. You have a house full of young adults (aka students after a Friday night that wouldn't wake to a bomb going off). A fire doubles in size exponentially every one minute with air and fuel available. Think of the time wasted, lives lost and damage done if only a few showed up and had to call in backup!!!!!The odds of another fire happening away from the area, at that time, are beyond remote. I also have a great deal of respect for our AA firefighters. They are highly trained professionals that save lives....job #1! I will never doubt their procedures, no one should. I will add that if we had responsible, non-self serving council members and mayor, we would have many, many more fire personel and stations open to appease your concerns. Remember this when you vote next may save a life, possibly your own!! A big thumbs up to the early morning hero that saved the day!!!! Now, instead of tragedy and loss, we have a new hero, and breathing students who can celebrate life and a big U of M win today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sun, Oct 2, 2011 : 4:05 a.m.

Wasn't actually implying the alcohol angle, I have three kids, in their twenties, I know the deal....twenty somethings sleep like I wish I could!!!


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

As a member of this house, I just want to say that the majority of our house was up late studying last night, and many people went home for Rosh Hashanah. We weren't partying or hung over and we woke up because our neighbors were banging on our windows and yelling at us to get out of the house. This was at 7:30AM, which explains why we were sleeping. Please don't assume that we all get drunk every weekend. Our house hasn't even had a party this year... But we are definitely thankful for our neighbors to take initiative as they were going to the game and put out the fire with our hose. I'm just glad we're all safe...


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

i live at this house, and to my knowledge, we were all under the impression that the furniture we had on the porch was okay because most of us moved in after that ordinance passed - so we assumed that the house was up to code. either way, it was an honest (albeit stupid) mistake and not some silly act of defiance. we're all really shaken up about this, and don't worry, dear Com commenters - we'll get ticketed. please don't make assumptions about others' characters when the only evidence you have before you is a rather vague fire report. i highly doubt we're the only house with illegal furniture on our porches, and this unfortunate event is all the more reason to make sure that people are a) aware of what kind of furniture is okay on porches and b) get rid of any furniture that isn't. most importantly: thank you, anonymous jogger - we were all sleeping, and could have died if it weren't for you.


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 7:57 p.m.

"i live at this house, and to my knowledge, we were all under the impression that the furniture we had on the porch was okay because most of us moved in after that ordinance passed - so we assumed that the house was up to code." The operative word in this post is "Most". Whoever lived there before the ordinance was passed should have checked to be sure that a couch was legal. It wasn't. Assumptions should never be made. It is also the landlord's responsibility to keep illegal furniture off of porches and balconies. That didn't happen, obviously. I'm glad everyone is ok, but this should be a wake-up call to other students and landlords in A2 to immediately remove all couches and other furniture from porches that are not legal.


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 5:02 p.m.

hootenanny: The jogger than was pounding on your door (trying to wake you all up) is a friend of ours named Kurt who is visiting with his family from Duluth, MN. Just out for his early morning run before game today.


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

Happy you are all ok!!! Whew...dogged one the game!


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.

Very glad, of course, that you and the others are well. Any idea how the fire started?


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 3:02 p.m., please come back with information as to if the address was ticketed since couches were banned from porches. Again, all six fire departments responded? What if there was a fire closer to those units station on the other side of town. Since one of the units was attending this fire, how long would it take to get clear across town if there was another fire at the same time, or shortly thereafter? This is the second incident were all six units arrived to a fire, and it was out by the time those other units arrived? Is this a good use of manpower? Why does this keep occurring. Does this answer questions that less fire fighters are needed?

Jen Eyer

Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 2:40 p.m.

In Sept. 2010 the Ann Arbor City Council passed a ban on all upholstered furniture on porches. Story here: <a href=""></a>


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.

Jen, are you sure about &quot;...a ban on all upholstered furniture on porches.&quot;? From your link, the story says &quot;City officials say the ordinance won't prevent all types of furniture from being used on porches — it applies only to those that are upholstered and not meant for outdoor use. The language of the ordinance specifically reads, &quot;No responsible person shall place, or permit to remain, upholstered furniture which is not intended or designed for outdoor use on exterior balconies, porches, decks, landings, or other areas exposed to the weather.&quot; This indicates to me that upholstered furniture (including couches) would be permissible if intended or designed for outdoor use. Right?

Elaine F. Owsley

Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 2:35 p.m.

I thought there was some kind of ban on porch sofas, or was that Ypsi? Also - seven units for a porch fire? Perhaps that's why the fire department is short. They send everyone to the first fire.


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 2:22 p.m.

I thought couches on porches were illegal in A2.


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 2:33 p.m.

I may be mistaken, but I don't think all couches on porches in Ann Arbor are illegal, only those that are not fireproof. Obviously, this was not one of them.


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 2:27 p.m.

You thought right. But perhaps the occupants of the house didn't think that law applies to them.