Public safety officers wrap up work at the scene of a house fire Oct. 28 in the 700 block of Fisher Road in Grosse Pointe City that claimed the lives of two young boys.

Public safety officers wrap up work at the scene of a house fire Oct. 28 in the 700 block of Fisher Road in Grosse Pointe City that claimed the lives of two young boys.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran


Two children killed in house fire on Fisher Road

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 28, 2019

 Trees in the front yard conceal the devastation wrought by a fire in the 700 block of Fisher Road Oct. 28 that took the lives of two young boys.

Trees in the front yard conceal the devastation wrought by a fire in the 700 block of Fisher Road Oct. 28 that took the lives of two young boys.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

GROSSE POINTE CITY — Two boys, ages 9 and 11, died in a house fire in the 700 block of Fisher Road in Grosse Pointe City the morning of Oct. 28. 

City Public Safety Director Stephen Poloni said that his department got a 911 call at about 7:51 a.m., and although the first public safety officer reached the scene in two minutes, heavy flames were billowing out of the windows at that time. 

Poloni said officers made their way to the second floor of the home, but both boys were already deceased by the time officers were able to reach them. Their names had not been released at press time.

Before public safety officers arrived, “some neighbors attempted to gain entry into the home,” Poloni said. He said they might have heard calls for help from the boys.

Because of automatic mutual aid in the Pointes for fires like this, Poloni said Grosse Pointe Farms and Park also immediately responded to the scene. He said Grosse Pointe Woods might have sent personnel as well.

No adults were injured in the blaze, which was contained to one home, Poloni said.

A preliminary investigation suggests that the fire might have started in the kitchen, but Poloni said an exact cause and location were being determined at press time. He said that officers from the Michigan State Police and the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had been called in to look for the cause and origin of the fire. MSP also brought a K-9 to the scene as part of its arson investigation, which Poloni said is standard protocol to determine if the fire was caused by arson or some other factor.

Although the fire had been extinguished as of the afternoon of Oct. 28, Poloni said Fisher between Goethe and Chalfonte avenues was going to be closed to nonresidents of that block until Oct. 29.

Grosse Pointe City Sgt. Joe Adams, who has two sons around the same age as the victims, acknowledged that this fire scene was especially emotional for the first responders.

“It’s hard when you have children,” he said.

Poloni concurred.

“For us to have to come to a scene like this — we’re devastated and we’re devastated for the parents,” he said. “A lot of us are parents.”

Poloni said the department will do a debriefing and bring in a chaplain or counselor for any responding officers who’d like to speak with someone.

A family that lives just doors away from the fire fought tears the afternoon of Oct. 28. The family members, who asked not to be identified, said they knew the victims well, and that the father of the two boys who died had grown up in that house. The home was occupied by a mother, father and two sons, according to the neighbors.

A letter from Richard Elementary School Principal John Kernan went out to Richard parents Oct. 28. He asked parents not to tell their children about the deaths of their classmates until after they returned home from school.

“We believe as educators that it would be in the best interests of our Richard students if they learned of this sad information from their parents, rather than at school,” Kernan stated in the letter.

He said that the school was working on plans for support and mental health services for students.

“This information is very upsetting and tragic,” Kernan stated. “However, please know that we are doing all we can here at school to support your students.”

During an Oct. 28 Grosse Pointe Park City Council meeting, Mayor Robert Denner asked for a moment of silence for the two boys lost in the fire and another youth who was killed in a recent car accident.

“Our community, the Grosse Pointes community, has suffered a tragedy that’s almost unfathomable,” Denner said. “This community is enduring a lot of pain.”

He said that a prayer service for the children killed in the fire was slated to take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 30 at St. Paul on the Lake Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe Farms.

At press time, a SignUpGenius page had been created to help provide the parents of the boys with necessities such as toiletries and clothing, because they lost everything in the fire. Anyone interested in donating or learning more can visit www.signupgenius.com/go/508084baaa622a31-theconnelly.