STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – A 20-year-old man is expected to be arraigned Monday afternoon in connection with the death of his 17-year-old brother in a deadly house fire early Friday morning in Sterling Heights.
Arson investigators found the fire suspicious when they arrived at the house in the 42000 block of Bloomingdale Drive. After an investigation, the Sterling Heights police chief said someone used an accelerant to set the fire.
A 17-year-old boy, identified as Matthew Marrocki-Yaldo, was trapped inside a bedroom in the home, investigators said. He was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Marrocki-Yaldo was a student at Sterling Heights Stevenson High School.
Neighbors can't believe it.
"I just can't imagine what they're going through," said neighbor Nick Miller. "It's tragic, to say the least. The first question was just, 'Why?' I mean, we may never know why. The reasoning behind it doesn't really matter. You just hope everyone else is OK and that they can recover."
Brother in custody
Marrocki-Yaldo's 20-year-old brother is in custody.
The teen's sister had to jump from the second floor to escape the fire.
Teen trapped in bedroom
The fire allegedly started about 3 a.m. in the den on the first floor of the home. The teen's bedroom is above the den on the second floor. Fire officials said the teen was trapped because the fire started right beneath his room. He didn't have a chance to get out. Firefighters were distraught about not being able to save him.
"It's always tough on our crews when they deal with that. The goal is to get here and get them out, and get them safely out. That doesn't always happen, though, depending on the fire location and the victims," said battalion chief Mark Docherty.
Four other family members were inside the home at the time of the fire. They were outside by the time firefighters arrived. Three of them suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The 20-year-old sibling was taken into custody.
Fire investigators: Family not alerted by smoke detectors
Sterling Heights fire investigators said early indications show the family was not alerted by smoke detectors.
Statement from the fire department:
"The Fire Marshal is investigating any issues related to the performance of the smoke detectors. Also, the door to the victim’s bedroom was open, which allowed for the toxic smoke to easily enter his room and quickly render him unconscious. The Fire Department cannot stress enough how important it is to ensure that your smoke detectors are properly maintained and that all families become educated in fire safety for the home."
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