Detroit-area firefighters save toddler from burning home

The smoke was so thick firefighters could not see their hands in front of their faces

By Eric D. Lawrence
The Detroit Free Press

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. — The boy had stopped crying by the time firefighters arrived at the apartment complex in Highland Park.

As thick black smoke poured from the three-story apartment building at 1941 W. McNichols this morning, firefighters wearing breathing masks combed the first-floor apartment where the fire had originated and found the toddler in his bedroom, said Highland Park Fire Sgt. Bryan Jeffrey.

"He was coughing real badly," but the boy, believed to be 2 or 3 years old, is now stable after being taken to Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, where he will be held overnight for observation, Jeffrey said.

The fire was reported at the three-story complex west of Woodward about 7:45 a.m., and firefighters had cleared the scene by 10 a.m., Jeffrey said.

When firefighters arrived, a resident of the complex told them a child was trapped inside. Some residents had tried but were unable to enter the first-floor apartment to save the boy. All of the other residents managed to escape.

Jeffrey explained that the smoke "was very thick and black ... too heavy they couldn't even see their hand in front of their face." Firefighters put on their masks and began to search after the resident told them the child had stopped crying.

The blaze is believed to have started in the living room of the apartment, where the boy and a woman — their relationship is unclear — were living, but the cause is unknown. Firefighters ventilated the apartments so residents could return, but Jeffrey said the apartment where the fire originated might not be habitable because of smoke damage.


(c)2014 the Detroit Free Press

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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