Family of 4 killed in early morning Rose Twp fire
ROSE TWP., Mich. (WJBK) - A Rose Township house fire killed four people including two little boys Tuesday morning.
Two others managed to escape the flames but are hospitalized.
"This is the worst thing I've ever experienced," said David Peters, a family friend. "Every window and door were just flames that were twice the height of the house."
The home burned to the ground with family friend David Peters waking up to heavy smoke. He called 911 but it was too late. Fire crews arrived to a fully engulfed home around 5:45 a.m. Peters said he felt helpless.
Families identify the couple trapped inside the home on Wakewood Court as 25-year-old Brittani Rodden and her longtime boyfriend, 24-year-old Jon Taulbee. Also inside were their two boys, 5-year-old Carter and 2-year-old Wesley Taulbee all of them killed.
"That's Glen's whole family," Peters said. "His daughter, his grandkids. They're all gone."
The home owner, Glen Rodden, who is Brittani's dad, is in critical condition with burns over 75-percent of his body after trying to save the others.
Brittani's cousin was able to escape through a side window and although is hospitalized, but is expected to be okay.
Michigan State Police say right now since the home is so badly damaged, it will take some time to figure out exactly what caused the fire and where it originated.
"They called me a while ago to see if they could get dental records to identify them," said Ida Taulbee.
Ida is Jon's mother and received that unimaginable phone call.
"I really am trying to be strong, it's just I wish it was me, not them," she said.
Ida is still in Kentucky where Jon is from. The young man recently moved back to Michigan.
"When they came here for Thanksgiving he said he would never leave them, he never wanted to live a day without them," Ida said. "They hadn't even gotten to live their lives yet."
Jon's mother says Brittani was a wonderful mother. and that the couple spent every possible moment together.
"He's no longer here but I hope one day I will get to see him again - and my babies," Ida said. "I know with God we can pull through this. I know we can. Because someday I'll see them again."
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WEB UPDATE: North Oakland County Fire Chief Jeremy Lintz released a statement on the tragedy.
The North Oakland County fire Authority Along with firefighter’s from The Village of Holly FD, Groveland Township FD, Fenton City FD, and Springfield Township FD responded to a report of a structure fire at 5:38 AM this morning located in the four thousand block of Wakewood Ct. in Rose Township. Initial reports indicated that a mobile home was engulfed in flames with trapped occupants inside.
Our first unit arrived on scene at 5:45 AM and reported a fully involved structure with at least four persons believed to still be inside. Two other occupants that were in the home managed to escape and were both transported by our ambulance to Genesys Hospital in Grand Blanc. The two victims transported were a 35-year-old male who sustained minor injuries and a 49-year-old male who suffered severe burns to his body and smoke inhalation. The latest update on the 49-year-old was that he is in the ICU in critical condition.
Due to the extent of the fire throughout the entire home firefighters could only fight the blaze from the exterior. At 6:04 AM the fire was brought under control and fire crews were able to begin recovery efforts. During recovery operations fire crews discovered the bodies of two adults and two children that were originally said to be in the home.
The deceased victims’ names are not being released at this time however it is believed that the deceased were a family which included a 24-year-old father a 25-year-old mother and their two sons ages 2 and 5, all of whom were living in the residence. Reports from witnesses at the scene stated that the 24-year-old father had initially escaped from the home with the other two males but then went back inside the burning building to try and rescue his family.
Michigan State police detectives and fire investigators were at the scene for more than five hours investigating the cause of the fire. At this time the official cause is under investigation however we are looking into the possibility that one of the occupants may have been using some type of flammable accelerant to stoke the fire in the wood burning stove that was being used to heat the home, causing the fire to flash out into the living area.
The men and women of the North Oakland county fire authority as well as all of the members of the assisting fire departments are devastated and deeply saddened by this tragedy. House fire fatalities are not a common occurrence for our community and our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to the victims and their families.
All of the firefighters performed their duties flawlessly this morning in very unfavorable conditions. We only wish that the outcome could have been different.
Chief Jeremy Lintz