Firefighters were told everyone was out
Shawn Ley and Dane Kelly, WDIV with permission
DETROIT (WDIV) – An 18-month-old baby girl was rescued from a house fire on Riad Street on Detroit’s east side.
The Detroit Fire Department said the fire is suspicious and reported the home was full of toxic smoke and burning accelerants.
Detroit Fire Fighter LaVaughn Williams said it was a surprise to find the young girl inside her crib. Authorities said not one person who got out of the home told fire crews there was a baby inside.
Williams said the room was filled with thick black smoke when he saw movement in the crib.
“I’m a father. I have a 3-year-old and it just stunned me. I couldn’t believe it,” Williams recalled. “I got her away from that smoke as quickly as I could. She was struggling to breathe. I ran to the chief, ‘Hey, chief. I have a baby.’”
Detroit Fire Department Battalion Chief Myke Nevin was with the baby’s adoptive mother and asked her repeatedly if anyone else was in the home.
“We were told everyone was out except for the dogs,” Nevin said.
20 dogs were in the home. Fire fighters said the mother’s entire focus was on the dogs, telling fire crews to get the dogs out.
The Detroit Fire Department checks every inch of a home during a fire to confirm if anyone else is inside. When Williams got the baby out, she would not let go of him.
“She looked at me with these big beautiful eyes. I said, ‘Oh my God,’” Williams recalled. “It was a feeling I couldn’t get rid of for days. It overwhelmed me. We weren’t informed there was a child in there.”
“The baby held onto him like it knew,” Nevin said. “The baby looked relieved.”
When the mother asked for the baby, firefighters refused to hand her over. Detroit police and Child Protective Services are now investigating.
“I would not give that baby to any civilian until we got her to the hospital,” Nevin said.
“The scariest thing about the whole situation is how do you not tell us there’s a child in there?” Williams asked. “There was a lot of black smoke.”