Detroit’s deadliest fire in years was ruled an arson; suspect in custody

Fatal fire at an apartment building on Detroit’s east side. Photo by Alex Haggart.

A suspect in the arson fire that killed five people and injured four others Wednesday in an apartment building on Detroit’s east side may soon be charged.

The man, who lived at the building at Whittier and Beaconsfield, is in custody on unrelated charges.

Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell said investigators determined the fire was intentionally started. The case has been handed over to the homicide unit.

By the time firefighters arrived to the fire, flames were shooting out of the windows, fanned by 50 mph wind gusts. Four people were injured jumping from the building. Firefighters found four dead inside the apartment, and a fifth person died at the hospital after being rescued.

It was the deadliest fire in Detroit in years.

We couldn’t immediately reach Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

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.