Details are still being investigated in the death of an elderly woman following a kitchen fire last week.
A 90-year-old woman was cooking at an electric stove at about 3:55 a.m. Feb. 15 at her house in the 900 block of South Center when she caught fire and suffered second- and third-degree burns to her torso.
“Apparently (she was) cooking fish sticks on an electric stove. It was not a lot of structural damage,” said Jim Cook, Royal Oak’s assistant fire chief, who noted the flames were confined to the stove area in the kitchen. “She had pretty significant burns. There was a caretaker there that helped extinguish the woman and got burned, as well.”
Both the woman and the 59-year-old man were transported to Detroit Receiving Hospital in Detroit for treatment, where the woman died the next day and the man was released after an overnight stay, Cook said.
The victim’s son, who is confined to a wheelchair, and a woman who is the primary caretaker were also in the house at the time, but were not hurt. There were no pets at the residence.
“We’re trying to find out the cause. We really don’t know,” Cook said. “It was a real quick response on our side and real quick on the extinguishing. She was cooking at (3:55) in the morning, and it’s kind of a mystery from there.”
Cook said the Oakland County Sheriff’s Arson Investigation Unit was on-site two hours later to assist in determining the cause of the fire, but that investigation is still pending.
“We don’t call them in that often, but on a death or someone hurt this bad, we call them in,” Cook said.