PD: Smoke detectors may have been disabled in fatal Novi house fire

- Days after a house fire in Novi leaves five Mexican nationals dead. More information is revealed about the victims.

"It appears a couple of the victims were trying to get out the room but were overcome with smoke and soot," said Novi Police Chief David Molloy.

Tuesday, investigators officially identified four of the five victims as Leonel Alvarado Rodriquez and Simeon Diaz Nunez, both 18 and 16-year-old Brayan Alexis Medina Contreras and 23-year-old Miguel Nunez Diaz.

Police say the four worked at this Novi restaurant, Kim's Garden. But questions persists about the remaining victim

Witnesses say four victims did work at restaurant but the fifth did not, Molloy said.

"At some point in time we may have to obtain a DNA sample from family in Mexico to compare it to fifth victim," Molloy said.

Police say all five were found in the basement of this house Sunday morning.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but police say it appears to be accidental and started on a mattress that was placed on milk crates.

Fire Crews say smoke detectors were heard inside the house but some  were also found in disrepair or disconnected.

"We have talked to some witnesses who indicate that they believe the smoke detectors in basement had been disabled because they would cook in basement," Molloy said.

Officials say the restaurant the victims worked at is owned by Roger Tam, who also owns the house the victims were living in.

Fox 2 reached out to Tam who referred all calls to his attorney but his lawyer did not respond by the story deadline.

Now questions remain if Tam broke any laws. Police say their investigation will go to the prosecutor's office for review.

"There was no egress window for anyone to get out of basement so that's concerning to us," Molloy said.

As the investigation continues, the Mexican Consulate is assisting police and the families of the victims.


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