Eastpointe woman dies in house fire

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 19, 2016

 A stuffed animal sits near the door of the home where the fatal fire took place Jan. 19.

A stuffed animal sits near the door of the home where the fatal fire took place Jan. 19.

Photo by Edward Osinski

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EASTPOINTE — A 68-year-old woman died following a house fire in Eastpointe the morning of Jan. 19.

According to Deputy Fire Chief Larry Folkerts, fire crews got a call around 7:20 a.m. about a house fire in the 23000 block of Lexington Avenue, at its intersection with Semrau Avenue. The intersection is west of Kelly Road and north of Nine Mile Road. When firefighters arrived, Folkerts said, the house was completely on fire.

With assistance from the Roseville and St. Clair Shores fire departments, firefighters were able to get the blaze under control, Folkerts said. They also received a report that the woman who lived in the house was still inside; firefighters were able to get her out of the building, but she was later pronounced dead at St. John Hospital in Detroit due to her injuries, Folkerts said.

Hours after the fire, Folkerts said investigators believed that the fire was an accident.

“She was a heavy smoker, she liked to use candles in the home, and the family members stated to us that there were no smoke detectors in the home,” Folkerts said. “She also had some health issues. She walked with a cane, so that may have aided in her lack of ability to get out of the home.”

He speculated that the fire likely started from smoking or candles, though investigators were waiting for the house to thaw out from all the water sprayed inside to look into the matter further. In the meantime, Folkerts said, they were talking with family members.

The house was “heavily damaged” and likely a total loss, Folkerts said. He stressed the importance of having working smoke detectors to help prevent injury and death from house fires.

Two women, ages 61 and 87, died in a house fire in the 17000 block of Sprenger, which is west of Kelly and north of Eight Mile Road in Eastpointe, Jan. 10.

During the Eastpointe City Council meeting Jan. 19, Councilman John Marion implored residents to make sure that they have working smoke detectors in their homes.

“Everyone, please check your smoke detectors, and if you don’t have one, call the Police Department or the Fire Department. I think they can help you out,” Marion said.

“And make sure you have batteries in it and that they’re fresh. This is a tragedy. There was loss of life that a $5 to $10 device could have saved somebody.”

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