Stuffed animals and balloons have been placed on the front porch of a home in the 15600 block of Juliana Avenue, where a fire caused the deaths of three children early March 10.

Stuffed animals and balloons have been placed on the front porch of a home in the 15600 block of Juliana Avenue, where a fire caused the deaths of three children early March 10.

Photo by Bria Brown


Three children die in Eastpointe house fire

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published March 12, 2018

 The Eastpointe Fire and Police departments are investigating what caused the fire at this home on Juliana Avenue March 10 that caused the deaths of three children.

The Eastpointe Fire and Police departments are investigating what caused the fire at this home on Juliana Avenue March 10 that caused the deaths of three children.

Photo by Bria Brown

EASTPOINTE — The Eastpointe Fire and Police departments are investigating an early morning house fire March 10 in the 15600 block of Juliana Avenue, east of Gratiot Avenue and north of Eight Mile Road, that caused the deaths of three children.

Eastpointe firefighters and police officers responded to the 5 a.m. 911 call, and when they arrived, the home was “engulfed in flames,” according to Eastpointe Deputy Police Chief Eric Keiser.

Once the fire was extinguished, the three children were discovered in an upstairs bedroom.

“The preliminary investigation indicates that there were no adults in the home at the time of the fire. This is a joint police/fire investigation,” Keiser stated in an email to C & G Newspapers.

Two of the three children were part of the Eastpointe Community Schools. The youngest child was 4 years old, according to police.  

Brendon Mahone, 9, was a fourth-grade student at Pleasantview Elementary School, and Zyahir Swain, 8, was a second-grade student at Forest Park Elementary School.

On March 12, Eastpointe Deputy Fire Chief Larry Folkerts was at the scene with other Eastpointe firefighters and the St. Clair Shores Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Bureau.

“As far as the cause and origin, we don’t know. We’re still working on it. We have all the investigators here today,” said Folkerts.

He also said that the department may not be able to determine the cause.

“We’re going to try to get in and see what we can determine. We may not ever (be able to determine the cause),” said Folkerts.

Keiser gave an update on the state of the investigation.

“The deceased were moved to the Macomb County Medical Examiner’s Office for that aspect of the investigation. There were no other reported injuries,” he stated.

“We are interviewing family members as well as collecting physical evidence from the scene. The preliminary investigation also revealed that there were no working smoke detectors in the home,” stated Keiser March 12.

Keiser had a message for residents.

“We strongly encourage people to install smoke detectors in their homes and to change the batteries yearly,” he stated.

The Eastpointe Fire Fighters Association posted its condolences to the family on the association’s Facebook page March 11.

“We are very thankful for the assistance we received from St. Clair Shores FD, Roseville FD, Warren FD, Detroit FD, Eastpointe PD, Michigan State Police, ATF and Medstar Ambulance. Please understand that we can not comment on the particulars of this incident as it is an active investigation. We ask for your thoughts and prayers not only for the family but all who have been touched by this tragedy,” the message stated.

Eastpointe Community Schools Superintendent Ryan McLeod sent out a letter to the community March 11 recommending that parents speak to their child or children about the tragedy.

McLeod also explained in the letter that the district had set up additional support for students and staff throughout the school year.

“We have arranged for additional social/emotional support personnel at Forest Park and Pleasantview Elementary schools to support our students, staff, and families. There is no timeline for grief, so please know that these support resources are available throughout the school year,” stated McLeod.

A message was left with McLeod’s office for comment March 12.