Three of seven Detroit children died in a house fire while their mother went to the store Tuesday evening, according to investigators.
When Detroit Fire Department crews arrived at 4956 Bangor around 6:30 p.m., flames were shooting from the two-story, single-family home, Fifth Battalion Fire Chief Gary Lauer said today.
“There was nobody on the scene telling us there was anyone inside,” Lauer said. “The way it was burning was like it’s a vacant house. But somebody finally said, ‘There’s three girls upstairs.’ “
Three brothers had already jumped out of a second-floor window with an infant, Lauer said. Investigators were unclear about the age of the oldest boy today, thought to be between 10 and 12 years old.
But the girls, between 3 and 6 years old, remained trapped.
“They … found the girls pretty quickly,” Lauer said. “But the smoke and the heat and the fire was so intense, they were in pretty bad shape when we found them.”
The mother arrived at the home shortly after the fire broke out, hysterical about the tragedy, Lauer said.
“At the time there were no adults at home,” he added. “I’m just going by what was said at the scene, that she had gone to the party store.”
An aunt took the boys to Children’s Hospital of Michigan, and they’re expected to survive. The condition of the infant, who was being given CPR before being transported to the hospital Tuesday night, was unknown this morning, Lauer said.
A space heater was found in the home, but Lauer said the cause of the blaze hasn’t been determined.
Officers from the department’s Arson Investigation Unit are expected to continue searching for a cause today.