Man slain, ‘partially burned’ in suspected grow house

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

A body was found Tuesday morning as the Detroit Fire Department battled a blaze on the city’s west side, but the person doesn’t appear to have died in the fire.

The garage fire, behind a house on the 22400 block of Santa Maria, was called in at 8:26 a.m., said Dave Fornell, deputy commissioner of the fire department. Firefighters arrived at the structure west of Lahser and between Grand River to the north and West McNichols to the south by 8:29 a.m.

File photo

Firefighters arrived to find the blaze “fully involved” in the garage, and moving to the home, and called for extra help. While extinguishing the fire, authorities found a dead body.

The victim “didn’t appear to be burned in the fire,” Fornell said.

Authorities believe the fire was set to mask a homicide.

Police responded to the scene about 40 minutes after the fire department did, and found a black male lying on his back on the kitchen floor, said Dontae Freeman, social media manager for the Detroit Police Department. He’d been shot and was only “partially burned.” Medics pronounced him dead at the scene.

The house, authorities believe, was used to grow marijuana.