DEXTER — Despite a major effort Friday, fire crews from Dexter and several nearby towns were unable to save a one-story ranch home at 612 Airport Road, the town’s fire chief said.

Despite the subzero temperatures, firefighters were able to, with some difficulty and a measure of luck, maintain a steady flow of water at the fire scene, Fire Chief Matt Conner said.

“The metal roof was the problem,” Conner said, adding that the back portion of the building had already started to collapse when firefighters arrived.

The fire was reported shortly after 11:30 a.m., Conner said. He said the homeowner, whose name was not immediately available, and a friend were shoveling off the roof of a cattle barn when the fire began. The chief said it appears the fire was caused by an unattended space heater.

Conner said the home was uninsured but that the homeowner’s cattle were in a back field and were unharmed. No injuries were reported in connection with the fire, he said.

Conner said that the homeowner declined assistance from the Red Cross and temporary housing arrangements.

“He said he was staying with his cattle,” Conner said. “He was pretty bull-headed.”

Firefighters from Dexter were assisted by crews from Corinna, Newport, Garland, Sangerville and Dover-Foxcroft, while crews from Detroit and St. Albans provided standby coverage. They remained at the fire scene until about 4 p.m.

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