DETROIT (WWJ) – Authorities say two families, one that includes five children and a dog, all safely escaped a fire on Detroit’s west side that might have been caused by an illegal electrical hookup.

The fire broke out around 4 a.m. Thursday at a two-story flat on Calvert Street near Linwood, in a neighborhood near the Lodge Freeway and Chicago Boulevard.

Roxy Jenkins said she and her fiancé woke up to the smell of smoke, saw flames and quickly sprung into action.

“Everybody got out on time, thank God, thank you Jesus. The main thing is our lives. All that other stuff, we can (get back) but we can’t get no life back,” she said.

Another resident, Shantia Coleman, said she gathered up her five children and got out of the house as soon as she could.

“I went in the hallway and looked upstairs, there’s a vent up there and you could see it, and it was burning from the upstairs,” Coleman said. “I just thank God that we smelled the smoke and got up out of there.”

Fire Chief Joe English told WWJ’s Mike Campbell early signs point to an illegal electrical hookup sparking the fire.

“You know, they’ve got illegal wires running to the house and there’s possibly a lot of extension cords running all over the place so, that gives you a clue,” he said.

English said they might have been able to put out the fire faster if it weren’t for the city’s budget woes.

“There’s an engine company that’s sitting right there that’s closed, right around the corner. So now, our first arriving engine is coming from 14th and Blaine, which is Engine 39. But like I said, those guys over there did a great job getting the lines up in there and getting some water on it ASAP and saved this guy’s house, if you want to know the truth,” he said.

An official cause of the fire remains under investigation. English said DTE Energy will determine whether or not power was turned on at the house.


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