May 30, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Detroit neighbors' worry turns to relief when residents of house on fire not at home

A group of neighbors rallied together on an east side neighborhood street Friday afternoon concerned for their neighbors whose home was on fire.

No one was injured in the blaze that started around 1:28 p.m. in the 15800 block of Fairmount, officials said.

Neighbors initially thought the women who lived there were inside the home, but that was not the case.

Loyal Lawrence, 51, said he was outside when he realized the house across the street was on fire.

“I saw the smoke coming from the back,” he said.

While waiting for the fire department, neighbors said they kicked in the door and broke windows to see if someone was inside. Lawrence, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair, said he got out of his chair and slid in through the front door, but neighbors quickly pulled him back out.

“They said I was crazy,” Lawrence said. “I said no. I wanted to see if someone was in there.”

Kentneeta Keith, 42, said everyone waited until the fire department confirmed there as no one inside the house. An ambulance had also arrived.

“There was a sigh of relief,” she said. “I’m so thankful they didn’t have to use that stretcher.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation, said Detroit Fire Department Capt. Gerod Funderburg. There was a lot of smoke damage, but the home was not destroyed, he said.
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