Serial arsonist set house fire that led to firefighter’s dramatic rescue in Detroit, officials say

There have been five fires set in past three days, officials say

Detroit firefighters rushed to save a 20-year veteran of the department from the rubble after a house collapses during a fire. That firefighter is at the hospital Thursday, but the department told Local 4 that he’s expected to be released Friday morning.

DETROITDetroit firefighters rushed to save a 20-year veteran of the department from the rubble after a house collapses during a fire.

That firefighter is at the hospital Thursday, but the department told Local 4 that he’s expected to be released Friday morning.

That is the good news.

The bad news is that the fire is no one-off, as it looks like a serial arsonist may be in the area as five fires have been set in that area in the last three days, which is why the feds have been on the scene for hours..

Eight Detroit firefighters were hospitalized after the collapse of the vacant building seen in the video player above. One of them was trapped under the rubble for two hours as his fellow first responders worked to free him.

Every single firefighter who made it out of the rubble of the burning house said that Thursday would go down as one of the luckiest days in department history.

“We have two trapped firefighters,” said the dispatcher. “One firefighter is out, and we have one still in the hole. We’re working.”

Read: 2 firefighters rescued after burning building collapses on them in Detroit, chief says

The Detroit Fire Department was working on a vacant house fire when the structure collapsed on the team; most were able to clear the debris, but one was trapped.

“We want the citizens of the City of Detroit to pray for our firefighters,” said Detroit Fire Department Chief James Harris.

After two hours of painstaking work, moving more than two feet of debris and the trapped firefighter was rescued.

That 20-year veteran of the department is alive and expected to recover fully, but Thursday’s incident was a near miss, and it’s no isolated incident.

When asked about the number of fires that have been set in the neighborhood, neighbor Rodney Tucker said five.

Tucker is right as the department sources show three fires on Hollywood Street, close to the home that burned today, one on Brentwood Street, which is one street over, and one further down 7 Mile Road.

ATF went door to door for hours, asking neighbors for any help so they could give with what is an investigation into a presumed serial arsonist.

Neighbors say all of the properties near the home that was on fire were abandoned.

“This is not a squatters house because that house that the fireman got caught in was not a squatters house,” Tucker said.

Eight members of the Detroit Fire Department were taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital to be evaluated. Of the eight, only one remains hospitalized, which is the lieutenant that was trapped under the rubble.


About the Authors:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.