‘Person of interest’ questioned in apartment fire that killed 5 in Detroit

Five people died in this fire at Whittier and Beaconsfield. Photo by Alex Haggart.

The Detroit Arson Task Force is questioning “a person of interest” tonight after a large fire swept through an apartment on the east side and killed five people and seriously injured four others.

The fire broke out at 1:25 p.m. at Whittier and Beaconsfield. Wind gusts of 50 mph fanned the flames as firefighters struggled to reach some of the residents.

Photo by Alex Haggart.

At least four people jumped out of the window and were taken to the hospital. Four others were dead when firefighters found them. A fifth was rescued but died at the hospital.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. An arson canine was at the scene tonight sniffing for accelerants.

Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell said the person of interest was being questioned because of “something that went down in the last day or two.”

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.