Nov. 01--An 18-year-old Detroit man is being questioned in connection with an early morning fire that killed his 49-year-old mother and 16-year-old brother.
Soot stains the front of the gutted brown brick bungalow at 20179 Spencer, just south of 8 Mile near Van Dyke on the city's east side. The ceiling is caved and the interior charred from the 4 a.m. blaze.
Investigators did not release the names of the victims or the 18-year-old, who is being questioned, said Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody.
Detroit Fire Senior Chief Robert Valgoi said firefighters discovered the woman inside the home, burned beyond recognition.
The 16-year-old was taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital in critical condition, but he later died, said Woody.
"There are some suspicious things that alerted the firefighters and the officers on the scene that I really can't discuss right now," Woody said this morning.
Neighbor Brian Woods, 22, said he awoke to his dog barking. When he looked outside, the house was engulfed in flames, so he called 911. When he went outside, the 18-year-old son approached him, barefoot wearing only pants.
"It's like he came out of nowhere, and he was saying his mama was still in the house," Woods said. "So that was my whole thing, trying to help him, to see the little things I could have done to get them out of the house. But it was impossible. The fire was too bad."
Woods said the teen told him he was returning from work at a hotel downtown when he saw the fire from the end of the street. Woods, a dietary aide at a local nursing home said he doesn't know the family.
The fire happened just after the city's annual three-day anti-arson campaign, Angels' Night. Rain seemed to significantly affect the number of fires, with the department handling 15 fires from 4 p.m. Thursday through 7 a.m. today, according to Valgoi. During the same period on Angels' Night, overnight Wednesday into Thursday, the department handled 29 fires, Valgoi said.
Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the Michigan Arson Tip Line at 1-800-44-ARSON (1-800-442-7766). A reward of up to $5,000 is available for information leading to an arrest.
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