House fire leaves two dead, three injured

Deputy fire chief says house had no working smoke detectors

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 12, 2016

File photo by Kevin Bunch

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EASTPOINTE — A house fire that took place in the 17000 block of Sprenger the morning of Jan. 10 left two people dead and three injured, according to the Eastpointe Fire Department.

Deputy Fire Chief Larry Folkerts said firefighters responded to a call about a house fire around 7:20 a.m., with dispatch being informed that there were still people inside the home. Upon arrival, Folkerts said three people — two adult men and a child — had managed to escape the house, while two women were still trapped inside.

Firefighters managed to get the two women, who were 61 and 87, respectively, out of the house, and they were both transferred to St. John Hospital in Detroit. They both succumbed to their injuries.

The three survivors were diagnosed with smoke inhalation at St. John.

“They transported themselves and didn’t realize they had that until they got there,” Folkerts said. “They went to be with their family members who were removed (from the house).”

The house was “very heavily damaged” and is close to a total loss, Folkerts said. As of Jan. 11, the Fire Department was considering the blaze an accident, and Folkerts said further investigation into the cause would be forthcoming as the Fire Department works with the insurance company and the Police Department. Folkerts expected that investigators would go over the remains of the house either Jan. 12 or 13.

“The initial physical evidence and the statements by both surviving men that got out said it was an accident, possibly involving a space heater in the back of the home,” Folkerts said.

As of Jan. 14, Folkerts said the investigation was still going on but hampered due to the scene being frozen. He hoped to have the investigation wrapped up by Jan. 15.

Folkerts said the house did not appear to have any functioning smoke detectors at the time of the fire. He said it was “definitely a factor” in the deaths of the two women.

“Make sure you have working smoke detectors,” Folkerts said. “That’s the big thing in this whole tragedy. It looks like an accident, and we have a home with no smoke detector and five victims — two of them fatal.”

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