Detroit firefighters missed body in basement of burning west side home

File photo by Steve Neavling
File photo by Steve Neavling

Detroit firefighters didn’t notice a body in the basement of a burning home on the west side this morning and left after saying a thorough search had been conducted.

Just an hour after firefighters left the scene, the brother of the victim found the body in the basement, still soaked from when the house was hosed down at 15010 Petoskey. Stab wounds were found on the body, authorities later said.

It’s unclear how firefighters failed to spot the body.

Dispatch records show that firefighters were called to a burning house at 7:23 a.m. About seven minutes later, firefighters requested an ambulance because the house was occupied, which is protocol.

EMS arrived on the scene at 7:32 a.m. and waited outside.

At 7:34 a.m., firefighters were in the basement, attacking the blaze and asking for more water pressure.

At 7:42, firefighters declared the fire was under control and a search of the house had been completed.

Chief #8 said a secondary search was finished at 7:46 p.m. and left the scene.

At 7:54 a.m., firefighters said they no longer needed EMS.

Firefighters left the scene at 8:27 a.m.

About an hour later, the brother of victim, in his 20s, found the body.

The fire department is investigating to determine how the body was missed.   

“The Fire Department is currently conducting a full review of its procedures at this fire scene,” Executive Commissioner Edsel Jenkins said Friday. “Because this case is being investigated as a homicide by the Detroit Police Department, it would be in appropriate for us to comment further on the details of this case.”

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.

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