Three fire-related deaths reported in Bloomfield Township

Residents advised to review fire safety tips

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published September 20, 2021

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BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Fire officials are asking residents to brush up on fire safety after three people died from fire-related incidents this month.

“Unfortunately, we had two separate fires that claimed the lives of three people,” said Bloomfield Township Police Chief James Gallagher.

The first incident occurred at around 3 a.m. Sept. 2 on Duvall Court.

“We got a call for the back side of a house that was completely engulfed in flames,” said Gallagher.

The first person to arrive on the scene was a Bloomfield Township police officer, who learned that an elderly gentleman was still in the upstairs of the residence, attempting to get downstairs. The man, 95, lived in the home with his two sons, who had been unsuccessful in rescuing their father from the home.

“When the second officer arrived, the two officers were able to free him from the electric chair he was trying to use to come downstairs and rescue him out of the house. The whole upstairs was engulfed in flames while they were doing it, and there were some explosions, which we believe were probably just from aerosol cans or something in the backyard that was actually exploding. Being in the house when that was occurring, they did a phenomenal job, especially under the conditions they were in,” Gallagher said.

Firefighters arrived on the scene soon after and were able to extinguish the fire.

“Crews came on scene and found heavy fire in the attic and on the back side of the house. It took about an hour to an hour and a half to extinguish the fire,” Fire Chief John LeRoy said.  

The elderly man, who LeRoy said had some burns on his body, was transported to Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital, where he died later in the week due to injuries related to the fire.

LeRoy said the fire started on the exterior of the house, in a shed area.

“We don’t know the exact cause at this point,” he added. “There was extensive damage to the second floor and the attic and roof of the house. The roof was pretty much burned off, with the collapse of the second floor.”

Nearly a week later, at around 7:30 a.m. Sept. 8, the Bloomfield Township Fire Department responded to a residential structure fire in the 200 block of North Williamsbury Road.

“A neighbor reported heavy fire coming out the window of his neighbor’s house,” LeRoy said.

The first units to arrive on the scene discovered heavy fire and smoke conditions at the back of the house and were advised by neighbors that residents might be trapped in the home.  

Fire crews immediately entered the home, performed search operations and located two residents inside the home in two separate areas.

The residents were rescued, treated and immediately transported to Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak, where they both died from their fire-related injuries that morning.

The fire took less than 45 minutes to extinguish, according to LeRoy.

“It started somewhere in the back of the house, but it’s still under investigation,” LeRoy said.

Both fires appear to be accidental in nature, according to officials, but they are currently under investigation by the Bloomfield Township Fire Department, the Bloomfield Township Police Department and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office’s Fire Investigation Division.

LeRoy encourages people to conduct fire inspections within their home this month, checking and replacing the batteries in their smoke detectors, going over the locations where they have multiple electrical devices plugged in, and creating or updating the family’s emergency evacuation plan so everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire. He also suggests identifying a family meeting place outside to help family members and firefighters account for those who are safe and those who might need rescuing.

A residential fire safety check sheet can be found on the Fire Department’s website. Residents may complete the checklist themselves, or request assistance from the Bloomfield Township Fire Department, which will provide the home inspection service free of charge to Bloomfield Township residents upon request.

For questions regarding the program or to schedule a home fire safety inspection, call the Bloomfield Township Fire Prevention Division at (248) 433-7745 or visit