Arson suspect flees state

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published June 15, 2016

 A fire apparatus sits outside a condominium in the 7300 block of Azalea Court, near west 14 Mile Road and Haggerty Highway, as crew members battle an intentional fire May 31. The arson suspect has reportedly fled the state.

A fire apparatus sits outside a condominium in the 7300 block of Azalea Court, near west 14 Mile Road and Haggerty Highway, as crew members battle an intentional fire May 31. The arson suspect has reportedly fled the state.

Photo provided by the West Bloomfield Fire Department

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — The West Bloomfield Police and Fire departments are conducting a joint investigation into an alleged arson incident that occurred on Azalea Court, near West 14 Mile Road and Haggerty Highway, at around 1 a.m. May 31. 

According to West Bloomfield Deputy Police Chief Curt Lawson, the suspect, a 26-year-old West Bloomfield man, has fled the state. 

Police officers and fire crews were dispatched to a structure fire shortly after 1 a.m. Lawson said that the 34-year-old condominium owner was at a grocery store, but her husband — the suspect — and two 15-year-old girls were in the house at the time of the fire. 

The teens reported that they heard the suspect say, “I didn’t do it” three times as he walked out the front door, Lawson said. He left on foot in an unknown direction. 

Upon hearing the smoke detectors, the teens investigated and found smoke coming from the master bedroom. They exited the house and called 911, Lawson said.

On-duty fire crews from five fire stations were dispatched. When they arrived, crew members found the residence filled with smoke, according to Fire Marshal Byron Turnquist. Neighboring condominium units were evacuated, and the fire was located in an upstairs closet. The fire was contained and extinguished, Turnquist said. 

“We have obtained a warrant for (the suspect’s) arrest for arson of an occupied dwelling, which is a 20-year felony,” Lawson said. 

Subsequent to the incident, detectives and fire personnel conducted a search warrant, obtaining evidence. Turnquist said that the fire was intentional and they are looking for information that leads to the arrest of the suspect.

Those with information can call either the Michigan Arson Prevention Committee at (800) 44-ARSON or Turnquist at (248) 409-1505. The Michigan Arson Prevention Committee offers a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest, he said.

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