Little did Battle Creek firefighters know that the residential house fire, which they were racing to on Tuesday evening of December 27 would evolve into a full-scale homicide investigation of a Battle Creek man, perhaps involving one of his relatives. 

The firefighters were dispatched to the blaze at the two-story home, located in the 200-block of Laurel Drive, at around 5 p.m. Upon arrival, they found the fire had spread throughout the first floor, with heavy fire concentrated at the rear of the residence.

A search and rescue also brought out the discovery of 61-year-old Randall Hurt, lying on a living room couch. Crews removed the victim from the blazing structure and determined that he was already deceased, and then contacted Battle Creek Police to assist in the investigation. It was during that investigation that it was determined that Randall Hurt had multiple injuries that were not consistent with injuries normally sustained from a fire. 

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After several hours into the investigation, detectives concluded that Hurt was a victim of domestic violence and that a person of interest was a relative of the victim. Detectives then arrested the suspect, who is now lodged in the Calhoun County Jail, awaiting charges of Open Murder that are being filed with the Calhoun County Prosecutor’s Office for review. 

During the course of the investigation, a dog was retrieved by the Battle Creek Police Department animal control unit. The pet wasn’t harmed during the fire and was removed from the scene for shelter and care.

Also, a Battle Creek firefighter was treated at Bronson Battle Creek Hospital for injuries and then released. 

Fire investigators were aided by a Michigan State Police accelerant dog, as they combed through the burnt home, looking for a cause of the blaze. The evidence points to the origin being located in the back, laundry room area of the home.

The joint investigation, conducted by the Battle Creek Fire Department and Battle Creek Police Department is ongoing. 

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