Two killed when group home catches fire in Detroit, not owner's first fire

- The man who owns the group home that burned last night, killing two people, had another group home burn down a few months ago.

Two people were killed late Tuesday when the fire burned through an adult group home in the 600 block of Lakewood Street.

Fire investigators say about seven people were inside the home Tuesday night went it caught fire. Five of them made it out but two did not.

"When we looked out the door, the house was in a total blaze," Katricia Douglas said. "They had no chance at all because we saw the fire coming out of every window, basement, upstairs, it was tragic."

The two people upstairs - a 59-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man - were both unable to get off the top floor before the fire claimed the building. FOX 2 learned that smoke detectors were not working at the time of the fire.

RELATED: 2 dead in suspicious fire at adult foster care home

"A girl came around the corner crying because she heard an elderly woman screaming in the flames. It was bad," Harland SImmons, Jr. said.

Investigators call the fire suspicious and are reporting something may have been thrown into one of the windows. They say it appears to have started in the living room. Erick Curry lives next door and says it's happened before.

"This is the second time this has happened," Curry said. "Somebody tried to burn the house down. The porch caught on fire."

The owner of the home, Benneth Okonkwo, called the situation 'tragic' but declined further comment. Investigators say another group home Okonkwo owns on LaSalle caught fire three months ago, apparently due to someone smoking in one of the bedrooms.

Investigators are still working to determine the cause of this blaze but neighbors are thinking of the two killed in the fire.

"I'm sorry. That's the only thing you can say is you're sorry. It's tragic. I feel so bad for them."

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in - includes Advertiser Stories