Neighbors helped family escape house fire started by fireworks in Chesterfield

Investigators say fireworks are suspected in a devastating house fire in Cheserfield Township.

It was a total loss, but neighbors stepped in to help the family inside and prevented what would have been an unimaginable tragedy.

"We saw a flame at the back of their house where their shed was at, which butts up against their garage," said neighbor Andrea Butterworth.

Flames sparked the blaze at around 10:30 p.m. on July 4th.

Butterworth, her husband, and another neighbor jumped into action to help the family inside.

"My husband ran out back with the father. he was trying to put the fire out with a hose. Unfortunately, that wasn’t working. The fire was going too quickly. Me and a couple of the other neighbors got the mom and the daughter and the two dogs out and we got them to a safe locaiton."

Chesterfield Township firefighters put out the flames a half-hour later.  Daylight shows a damaged home —  with part of its roof missing.

In the driveway is what may be the culprit — a box of fireworks.

"We’re still investigating, but anytime we’re working with fireworks, and of course, this time of year, fireworks are legal in Michigan," said Fire Chief Craig Miller, Chesterfield Township. "People are using them all the time. We just have to realize there’s an inherent risk with them."

The most recent data shows more than 31,000 fireworks-related fires in 2022 nationally. The majority of them were outside fires.

About 3,500 were house fires. Overall, the property damage totaled $109 million.

The loss can be devastating for families and their neighbors - but it’s also a realization of how precious life can be.

"It’s tragic," Miller said. "We never want to see this happen to anybody."

"My husband and my neighbor, they were completely selfless," Butterworth said. "(They) didn’t think about themselves at all. They made sure that they were safe. And that’s all they cared about. that’s what humans do. that’s what neighbors do."

Paramedics treated a Chesterfield firefighter for heat exhaustion. The Red Cross is helping the family, which did have insurance.