Deadly Rose Twp. fire was ‘600-square-foot tinderbox’

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Rose Township — Two men remain hospitalized Wednesday with injuries suffered in a township house trailer fire that killed two other adults and two children a day earlier.

Brittney Rodden, left, and her husband, Jonathan Taulby, right center, and the couples’ two children, Carter and Westley, died from smoke inhalation and thermal injuries.

Glen Rodden, 49, suffered severe burns and soot injuries and remained listed as in critical condition at an area hospital. Frank Thomason, 35, was being treated for cuts and burns in the hospital, according to investigators. Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw said Wednesday the cause of the early Tuesday morning blaze on Wakewood Court remains under investigation.

Workers from Belfor Property Restoration look over the debris after a Tuesday morning fire killed two adults, two children, and injured two other adults in Rose Township.

Autopsies by the Oakland County Medical Examiner determined the deaths of four other fire victims who also lived in the house trailer as accidental. Rodden’s 25-year-old daughter, Brittney Rodden, and her husband, Jonathan Taulby; and the couples’ two children, Carter, 5, and Westley, 2, all died from smoke inhalation and thermal injuries, the medical examiner’s office reported.

North Oakland County Fire Authority Chief Jeremy Lintz said the house trailer was transformed into a “600-square-foot tinderbox” within minutes and is believed to have ignited when someone “placed an accelerant on a wood-burning stove used to heat the dwelling,”

Taulby initially escaped the blaze with the two survivors but rushed back inside when he realized his wife and children were still inside. He perished with them.

The fire department was notified that a mobile home on Wakewood Court was on fire at 5:38 a.m., Lintz said. The first firefighting unit was on scene at 5:45 a.m. and found a “fully engulfed mobile home” and Glen Rodden and Thomason, a cousin, standing outside. The pair had unsuccessfully attempted to get the other victims out of the burning structure.

“The fire was burning too hot, and it was impossible to get inside,” said Lintz, who said flames and heavy smoke were coming out of every door and window. “It took about 20 minutes to get under control and go inside.”

The fire was extinguished by 6:04 a.m. All the victims were dead at the scene, he said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up, seeking to raise money for funeral expenses. As of Wednesday evening, more than $5,700 had been raised.

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