ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – A 69-year-old woman is dead and her 50-year-old son is in custody following a house fire in Royal Oak.
The incident unfolded around 1 a.m. Friday in the 1700 block of Altadena, in a neighborhood just east of Main Street and 12 Mile Road.
Neighbor Matthew Bainter told WWJ’s Charlie Langton he was at the home, drinking with the son, Timothy, who is currently on disability.
“We were just watching television,” he said. “We had a couple of cold beers and he wanted more and more and more and we were telling him ‘No, you need to go relax and lay down. It’s time to go to bed. It’s getting late.'”
Bainter said that’s when things started to take a turn for the worse.
“He got unruly and he was downstairs, smashing up things and getting out of control,” he said. “[He took] a gas canister, which you would use as a settling torch, because he was a plumber one time, and he was throwing it on the ground. You know, I told him ‘That thing is like a bomb. It’s going to go off.'”
Bainter said at that point, he ran upstairs to warn Timothy’s mother about what was happening, but she apparently refused to leave the home.
“I told her ‘We’ve got to get out of this house, it’s going to blow up,'” he said. “At that time, I opened the front door, went out and then I went to my left to see the basement window and sure enough, the whole basement was engulfed in flames and the rest is history.”
Fire crews were called to the scene and quickly extinguished the blaze. The body of Maxine Hadley was then discovered inside the house. Officials are awaiting autopsy results to determine how she died.
The son, who was being treated for burns at an area hospital, remains in police custody.
Once Royal Oak police finish the investigation, a report will be forwarded to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office to determine what, if any, charges will be filed.
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