SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Firefighters knew something was wrong when they could see the smoke from the Southfield Freeway.
On her way home from teaching at DPSCD last Monday (March 14), Barbara Shaw said she saw black smoke coming from the freeway as well.
“When I hit the service drive, I saw the smoke billowing up in the air,” said Shaw.
When she turned onto Westover Street and saw it was her home, she jumped out of the car and started running. She saw her nieces out of the house.
“I was like, ‘you’re ok,’ and I hugged them, and then I was like, ‘where’s my mama?”’
Barbara Shaw’s mother Essie Shaw was still inside.
Barbara Shaw didn’t know that two Southfield firefighters who had arrived on the scene were inside too.
When Chris Siewert and Michael Siburt came to the burning home, neighbors were yelling that an 87-year-old woman who used a wheelchair was stuck inside.
The two strapped on their breathing apparatus and ran in without a hose line or backup.
“We couldn’t wait,” said Siewert.
“Chris made the decision we’re just going mask up and go in,” said Siburt.
There was heavy smoke and flames in the home. The two crawled on the ground until they found her and hauled her out.
“I turned around, and I saw her on the grass surrounded by four firefighters,” Shaw said. “I was told it was a Mike and a Chris that pulled her out, so thank God for Mike and Chris.”
Essie Shaw suffered from smoke inhalation and burns but will soon be discharged from the hospital.
Shaw is so thankful for the firefighters but has run into some post-blaze problems. The fire is still under investigation.
Her homeowner’s insurance was automatically paid with her mortgage payment, but when another entity bought her loan, the payment didn’t go through for the insurance. So now, she may not have insurance to cover the loss of the contents. She’s working on hashing it all out.
Shaw says her fellow teachers at DPSCD have been wonderful to her, and a gofundme has been set up to help.