NOVI, Mich. (WJBK) - Fire investigators in Novi are looking for answers after five people were killed in a house fire over the weekend. The coworkers were all trapped in the basement of a home in the area of 10 Mile and Novi roads.
We're told all five victims were in their 20s or early 30s and all have birth certificates that indicate they are originally from Mexico. All five were working at Kim's Garden Restaurant and apparently lived in the house together.
They were all inside the home on Mystic Forest Drive in the basement when the fire broke out Sunday morning around 9:30. Neighbors stood by for about an hour as the house's owner told them none of his family was inside, and that he didn't think anyone else was inside at the time of the fire. It wasn't until first responders brought out a man and were trying to resuscitate him that neighbors realized this fire was deadly.
Authorities were not able to resuscitate the man, and eventually found four others in the basement.
"We're al kind of standing around and, from what we understood, there was nobody in the house and the homeowner was here so we thought everybody was safe and it was just a house burning, which is then not a big deal. And then they bring this kid out and it was horrible, and then we kept hearing there was more people in there. So the whole mood kind of changed and the whole street was filled with fire engines and emergency crews," says a neighbor.
The chief of the public safety office in Novi Malloy says he has never seen such horror as he did inside that house. He added the fire somehow ignited on a mattress, and they are not ruling out the possibility of cigarettes as the cause.
According to firefighters, on several occassions the smoke detector had been unlatched and then put back on so it would work again. Apparently, the five people were living in the basement and would even cook there.
malloy is working with Mexican consulate to figure out how the workers got here and if the consulate was aware of their statue. Fire investigators are also working to determine why they were trapped inside of the basement.
Kim's Garden Restaurant was closed on Monday, citing a power issue.
This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 2 for updates.