Mom, daughter injured in apartment fire

Authorities: Fire started when young girl played with lighter

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published April 14, 2016

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MADISON HEIGHTS — When a 3-year-old girl found her mother’s cigarette lighter and played with it, she reportedly lit the couch on fire, inhaling smoke. Her mother then burned her own hand trying to pat down the fire.

The incident occurred around 11:45 a.m. April 5 at the Concord Towers Apartments, located in the 32600 block of Concord, off 14 Mile near Oakland Mall.

According to Madison Heights Fire Marshal Shawn Knight, the unit is on the eighth floor and smoke could be seen from outside the building.

The injuries to the mother and daughter were minor, he said, and both appeared to be fine following their treatment at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.

Due to safety concerns, firefighters didn’t take the elevator to reach the top. While the fire was reportedly put out in about 10 minutes, one of the firefighters didn’t feel well afterward, and he was treated for dehydration. It was a precaution, Knight said, and the firefighter is now OK.

Another pair was in the building at the time of the fire — a woman and her infant boy. Neither were hurt. They experienced mild smoke inhalation, but were treated and released from the hospital. 

The fire itself was confined to the couch, the marshal said.

“There was just limited smoke damage. Just minor damage — it wasn’t bad,” Knight said. “The mom quickly got to the fire and knocked it down as best she could with her hand. She then called us to make sure everything was extinguished.”

He said residents shouldn’t ever assume they’ve put out a fire themselves. Every home should have working smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher — and the knowledge of how to use it — but even if you think the fire is out, it’s still best to call the Fire Department and let them make sure the fire isn’t hiding behind the walls or in other places.

“If the fire is swelling out and if you can extinguish it with a fire extinguisher yourself, great, but always call us first,” Knight said. “We don’t want to see people put in positions they can’t handle. It doesn’t cost you anything to have us come in. It’s good to have trained professionals to make sure you’re safe so that hours later you don’t have a second fire.”

He also said there’s an obvious lesson to be learned with this latest incident.

“Keep cigarettes and lighters out of the reach of small children,” Knight said.