96-year-old mother, son killed in house fire on Detroit’s east side

Fire moved so fast that Katherine Hickman and her son Dirk couldn’t make it out

DETROIT – A 96-year-old mother and her son were killed in a house fire on Detroit’s east side.

That fire occurred on East Kirby Avenue in the area of Mount Elliott and East Grand Boulevard Friday (March 24).

The fire moved so fast that 96-year-old Katherine Hickman and her son Dirk couldn’t make it out.

A 96-year-old mother and her son were killed in a house fire on Detroit’s east side. (WDIV)

The mother and son lived in the home for 57 years.

“It’s a big loss for the family as she was dearly loved, and her mind was like a steel trap,” said Hickman’s nephew Anthony Martin.

Family members told Local 4 she was the first African American to live in the neighborhood when she moved in, and her nephew says she was so robust that they took a trip around the holidays.

“We went to Antigua together in December, right around the Christmas holiday to New Years,” Martin said. “She would’ve been 97 on May 10.

After putting the fire out, Detroit fire investigators searched for a possible cause. While outside, Hickman’s heartbroken daughter took the time to tell us about her dear mother.

“She was 96 years old, and she’s been living over here for 57 years,” said Stacey Hickman. “She was a staple in the community. The community block club came out this morning to provide support. My family is here. She was 96 years full of life up until this very moment.”


About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

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.