HIGHLAND PARK (WWJ) — Instead of preparing for a holiday meal, one Highland Park family is preparing to bury a child who died in a house fire.
Toletha Traylor lost her 12-year-old son Marvin Carter in a fire on Monday. Marvin and his 13-year-old sister were home alone when the fire broke out at their home on Connecticut Street in the area of Davison and I-75. The 13-year-old girl was able to escape the fire, but Marvin was not as police found Marvin unresponsive in a third floor bedroom.
A space heater was believed to be the cause of the fire. Traylor — who is working two jobs to support her family — arrived on the scene of the fire apparently coming from one of her jobs at a nearby hospital.
Traylor spoke to the media for the first time since the tragic incident on Wednesday, sharing how Marvin was a bright young man who participated in academic games and peewee football.
“He’s been bright since he was born,” Traylor said. “He learned how to read on his own. He had learned how to sound out words on his own. He was amazing. He called himself the G.O.A.T. — greatest of all time. He is always going to be that — the greatest of all time. My little G.O.A.T.”
With the family grieving the loss of Marvin, the Highland Park community is trying to help. City of Highland Park officials are urging the community to help the family through a donation fund. Officials are trying to raise money for the family to put on a funeral service.
“I’m saying this from my heart, I’m really sadden by this, I really am,” Highland Park Fire Chief Kevin Coney told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Stephanie Davis. “I have a child of my own and I’m trying to hold back tears about this happening to the young lady. Only time can really heal. I told her she didn’t lose everything, she (still) has family here.”
Donations can be made at One Detroit Credit Union under the name “Carter Savings Account.” Clothing and other items are also being accepted and can be dropped off at the Highland Park Fire Department