photo: WWJ/Mike Campbell

Arson Suspected After 3 Detroit Homes Catch Fire

June 08, 2018 - 9:45 am

DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit investigators are trying to determine if a serial arsonist is running around on the city's west side.  

Between 1:30 and 2 a.m. Friday, three homes caught fire in the area of Grand River and Livernois.

Deputy Fire Chief Dave Fornell said the fires were at two vacant homes on Woodside and Dundee, and another at an occupied home on West Chicago. 

"It was pretty busy there for a while," Fornell told WWJ's Sandra McNeill. "It's tough. In this particular case, because the fires were so close together, there were three different crews so we had quite a bit of fire equipment tied up in that area."

Their investigative work is just beginning, but Fornell said all three fires appear to be suspicious in nature. 

"Our arson people were there... but usually you wait, unless it's an injured civilian or a fatality, it's a lot safer to wait and you can pick up a lot more detail when it's daylight. So our people will be out investigating as far as the use of accelerant and they'll go ahead and look into that," he said.

At the home on West Chicago, 60 years of family history went up in smoke. 

"It's hard to explain. There's nothing to explain," said Jayme Jones. "We lost everything, you know, everything. Heirlooms from my mother-in-law, my daddy-in-law. Everything."

Floyd Jones said he couldn't believe his eyes when he woke up to fire. 

"I was asleep and my father woke me up about 1:30 in the morning and he said the house was on fire. So I got up, put my shoes on and I look toward the dining room window, toward the driveway, and the whole driveway was on fire," he said.

As she watched her home burn to the ground, Jayme Jones said it's too coincidental to have so many fires in such a small area.

"Here, around the corner, down the street -- come on now. This is somebody doing something," she said. "But it will come to a head."

Although the fires seem unusual, Fornell said it's really nothing out of the ordinary for a night in the city. 

"Our average, it could be up to six to eight a day," he said. "So, it really wasn't an abnormal night. It was just the fact that they were grouped together time wise."

One firefighter suffered shoulder injury while fighting the fire on Dundee when a floor collapsed in the home. He's expected to recover.

"It appeared that he dislocated his shoulder," said Fornell. "He was taken to Henry Ford Hospital. He's being treated. Unfortunately, it's a very painful injury so we wish him the best."

Investigations are ongoing.