Father saves family of 7 from house fire in Van Buren Township

Man brings wife, children, nephews to safety amid early morning house fire

In the early morning hours, a family of seven was asleep in their Van Buren Township home when a fire broke out. Father Tony Burge helped bring his family to safety, and his security cameras captured the entire thing.

VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP, Mich. – In the early morning hours, a family of seven was asleep in their Van Buren Township home when a fire broke out.

Immediately, the family’s father worked to bring everyone to safety -- an intense situation captured on the home’s surveillance camera.

It was 1:30 a.m. about three weeks ago when Tony Barge woke up to the sound of a smoke detector going off. He had been sleeping in his Van Buren Township home with his wife, three children and two nephews.

A fire had broken out in the home, and eventually destroyed it. Barge can remember every second of those tense moments, trying to get everyone out of the home right away.

“I got up, ran through the house, and saw that there was smoke coming from the garage and the breezeway area and I saw an orange glow,” Barge said. “I moved a garbage bag that had some clothing in it, and it was actually on fire. So I turned and ran, got some water and threw it on there, and that didn’t work so much. And that’s when I stood up and I realized my head was standing up in smoke ... it was more than I could handle.

“That’s when I knew I couldn’t do anything about it,” Barge continued. “So I ran to get the kids out, and my wife out.”

Surveillance cameras captured the fire and the family’s escape from it. After busting through the main door and the storm door, Barge can be seen yelling to his family as children exit the home.

You can see some of the surveillance footage in the video player above.

The man’s wife was asleep on the couch in the living room, and four of the children were asleep in the front bedroom. Barge thought that everyone had safely exited the home, until he realized his youngest son was still inside. By that point, the smoke in the home had already reached the man’s waist, as the fire continued to spread toward the family.

“I just knew that I just had to get him out,” Barge said. “I didn’t care about anything else; nothing else matters at that point. They just needed to get out.”

Then, once everyone was safe, all they could do then was sit back and watch as they fire tore away at their home. Investigators are still working to determine what exactly caused the fire.

The Van Buren Township fire chief says that what they do know, however, is that the working smoke alarms are what saved this family.

Watch the full story in the video player above.


Other news: Redford Township man dead, woman hospitalized after fiery crash on I-96 in Detroit


About the Author:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.