INKSTER, Mich. (WJBK) - Burned brick and melted siding marks where 34-year-old Arica Bell mysteriously caught fire Monday. She went outside on the front porch of her assisted living facility to smoke -- and ended up catching fire and dying.
Her family just wants to know how this could've happened.
The owner of the home in the 4100 block of Moore Street in Inkster would not answer any of our questions.
"She was a great mom. She was a great cousin; she was the equivalent of a sister to me," said Damany Jones. He says their family is desperate for answers. "We want to know how did someone let this happen, if she was in their care."
Neighbors say Arica was known to smoke on the front porch. Investigators did not find any sign of accelerant outside the house that would explain how she caught fire.
"I just heard a voice that screamed out of nowhere," said neighbor Maurice Brown. "I looked out the window and I just saw just a big gulf of flames and I saw the lady in the middle."
Brown lives across the street and says he was the first person to try to help Arica.
"When I got over there and I splashed her with the water, that's when she fell," Brown said. "Whoever was working there came out and hit her with the door, poured a little bowl of water on her and walked right back in the house."
"I don't think you can sustain burns like that if someone was attending to you," Jones said. "Just keeping a half an eye on it, even if this was habitual for her to sit out on the porch and smoke, okay, fine. For her to burn that way, I can't see that."
Investigators are waiting to hear from the Wayne County Medical Examiner so they can get a better idea of how the fire started. City ordinance officers are also checking with the State to see if the group home's license is legitimate.