Boys Transported in Detroit Fire Truck After Fire; One Dies, One Critical

Boys Transported in Detroit Fire Truck After Fire; One Dies, One Critical

News Jan 30, 2013

Jan. 30--Authorities said a 6-year-old boy was killed and his 4-year-old brother was critically injured Tuesday morning when an upper flat in southwest Detroit caught fire when the siblings were left home alone.

The Detroit Fire Department received a call about a fire in the 5200 block of Tarnow Street at 7 a.m.

After arriving to find Miguel, 6, and Julio Chavez, 4, inside, firefighters called EMS, but then decided to transport the children to Henry Ford Hospital in their fire truck to save time, DFD spokesman Capt. Dale Bradley said.

"EMS is normally not dispatched on a dwelling fire unless someone is trapped," he said. "The firefighters performed CPR en route."

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Neighbors said the children were home alone while their mother, Sylvia Chavez, was at work. She returned to the home, where Detroit police questioned her and her downstairs neighbors.

She was released into the care of a friend and fell to the ground wailing Miguel's name upon hearing that he had died. Julio remained in critical condition late Tuesday, police said. Chavez left with a friend to go to the hospital, said Rolando Perez, pastor of Iglesia de Cristo Ministerios on 52nd Street.

"The situation is very bad," Perez said, having come to the scene to check on the downstairs family, who are his congregants.

Per protocol, Bradley said, arson investigators were on the scene Tuesday morning, combing through the blackened remains of the top floor. A laundry basket sat in the doorway, and the family who lives downstairs sat in their car as friends and neighbors filled the sidewalks.

Throughout the morning, people gathered, trying to make sense of what went wrong. Some said it was often difficult for parents to find baby-sitters to cover odd-hour jobs. Others said they had difficulty explaining to their own children what happened.

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"My kids are really upset," said Patricia Tharpe, who lives across the street. "They keep asking me, 'Are they dead?' "

Contact Megha Satyanarayana: 313-222-8767 or

Copyright 2013 - Detroit Free Press

Detroit Free Press
Megha Satyanarayana
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