MLive.com, Walker, Mich.
A third-generation firefighter who served alongside his sister and father has been identified as the man who died while battling a duplex blaze on a former U.P. Air Force base Friday night.
Ben Lauren, 23, a graduate of Gwinn High School, died at the scene of the fire at residential property on the former K.I. Sawyer Air Force base in Marquette County, authorities said. Forsyth Township officials said Lauren died while fighting side-by-side with his fellow firefighters. His cause of death has not been released, and an investigation into the cause of the fire continues.
“Ben’s father, Ron, and sister, Tori, are also members of the department, and we ask that you keep them, the whole Lauren Family, and all of our brave volunteers close in your thoughts and prayers,” township officials said. “Ben, a 3rd generation volunteer firefighter, via his maternal grandfather, was born on Flag Day (June 14th) 1996, and attended his first of many U.P Firefighter’s Tournament(s) six weeks later.”
“He was a proud, dedicated and exceptional member of your Fire Department, and was truly the finest representation of our community’s young people – respected and admired by all who knew him. RIP Ben Lauren, FTFD, GHS class of ’14. HERO.”
The fire broke out shortly before 9:30 p.m. in half of a duplex on Albatross Street, Marquette County sheriff’s officials told WLUC. A woman and her two children were able to escape the fire.
When the first firefighters arrived at the scene, half the building was already up in flames. Fire was coming out of the home’s front windows and roof, the TV station reported. Firefighters at the scene were digging out additional fire hydrants from a nearby snowbank.
An investigation into the blaze and Lauren’s death are being handled by the Michigan State Police Fire Marshal’s office and the sheriff’s department, the station said..
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