ATF investigating 'suspicious' vacant house fire that left 8 firefighters hospitalized
DETROIT (FOX 2) - Eight Detroit firefighters were hospitalized with smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion battling a vacant house fire on the city's east side Thursday.
At 82 West Hollywood Street came a mayday call on the radio - three firefighters trapped inside an abandoned house. They were inside fighting a fire when the structure collapsed on top of them.
Lieutenants Darren Tillman, Maurice Faunchess, and Paul Fillmore were all rescued and rushed to Detroit Receiving Hospital. All are long-time veterans from the 8th Battalion.
Five additional firefighters were also hospitalized with similar symptoms. All of them are expected to make a full recovery. Most have been already released from the hospital. A handful are being held overnight for observation.
Investigators say the cause definitely appears suspicious in nature. One source close to the investigation told FOX 2 that it was most likely deliberately set.
On Thursday ATF agents were at the scene investigating the rubble.
"The firefighters have been working over time," said Wayne Moir who lives nearby. "It’s been crazy lately, two fires down the street one over there around the corner."
In that neighborhood near John R and Seven Mile, there have been several fires.
"I come through this way every day - I happen to look up and see this house on fire and right across the street another house on fire- what’s going on over this way," said Robert Matthews
Detroit Fire Chief James Harris is asking for help from the public.
"We want our citizens to be safe," he said. "If you see anybody committing any type of arson or doing anything unsafe, just speak up and tell someone."