Mount ClemensMay 13, 2009
Police save man trapped on roof of burning building
By Sarah Cormier
C & G Staff Writer
MOUNT CLEMENS — Three police officers who arrived at the scene of an intense fire in the afternoon of May 13 are being credited for helping a local man who was stranded on the building’s roof jump to safety.
According to Sgt. Greg Hoppe with the Mount Clemens Fire Department, at 3:37 p.m., the department received a call about a fire taking place at Michigan Credit Adjusters, which is located at 237 S. Gratiot Avenue. The caller also told the operator that a person at the scene needed assistance.
“We got the report of a person trapped on the roof of the building,” said Hoppe.
When the Fire Department arrived on the scene, they could see that New Baltimore resident Dennis King, 58, was stuck on the roof of the building, which was covered in smoke and flames. King is the co-owner of Michigan Credit Adjusters and had been inside the office when then flames broke out.
“When we arrived, Gratiot was completely smoke covered. There was flames covered in the side of the roof and there was a gentleman on the roof getting ready to jump off,” said Jeff Williams, fire inspector with the Mount Clemens Fire Department.
The firefighters had arrived just around the time that the three deputies from the Sheriff’s Office had helped the man off of the roof.
Capt. Tony Wickersham with the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office said that deputies Alan Taylor, Ron Murphy and Anthony Szalkowski were the first to arrive at the scene and quickly noticed that King needed to get down from the roof immediately. Wickersham said that the three officers encouraged King to grab on to a tree branch, and then they caught him.
“They observed the victim on the roof … he attempted to jump to a tree… and he fell down a short distance and the deputies were able to break his fall,” he said, adding that the roof was about 8-10 feet high.
Williams said that once the Fire Department arrived, it took about 45 minutes to get the fire under control. He added that the building was built in 1902.
Williams and Wickersham said that officials are still looking into how the fire got started, but it is not viewed as suspicious at this point.
“There’s nothing apparent that this is foul play, but they are still investigating,” said Wickersham.
Diane Kish, spokesperson for Mount Clemens Regional Hospital, where King was taken, said that King has since been released from the hospital’s care.