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HIGHLAND PARK (WWJ) – A fire claims the life of a 12-year-old boy and injures his sister — the siblings home alone — when fire breaks out in their Highland Park home just after 5 a.m.

Police say a space heater is to blame for the fire that broke out at the home on Connecticut Street in the area of Davison and I-75.

Authorities tell WWJ’s Charlie Langton that the boy was found unresponsive in a third floor bedroom. The mother of the two children arrived on the scene of the fire apparently coming from work at a hospital.

A 13-year-old girl in the home was able to escape and was taken to the hospital for treatment of burns on her hands and arms.

A neighbor, Richard Miller, spoke of the harrowing minutes as people tried to help rescue the pre-teen, Marvin, trapped in an upper room.

“And she said, “my brother, Mr. Miller, my brother in there” — and one of the guys, I don’t know who it was – he ran up there and tried to get in there– his wife was outside yelling come out of there. They were trying to get to the boy — but they found him … on the highest dwelling.

“Great kid, man, smart, intelligent. He was new to the neighborhood – fairly new – maybe two years now and he was on a good path. Wanted to play ball for my youth football team,” said Miller.

Glenda McDonald is a neighbor who knows the mother.

“She’s a great mom, always was there … worked to make sure that her family was taken care of and she does what she can to make sure that her family is taken care of.”

Investigators were trying to determine if the home had heat or if the space heater was the only source.

The family dog also died in the fire.

Stay tuned to WWJ Newsradio 950 [LISTEN LIVE] for more on this developing story.

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