August 22, 2013GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Fire destroyed three neighboring garages and scorched a house in the 400 blocks of Madison and Lothrop early Sunday, Aug. 18.
"Siding melted off the house," said Officer Tom Shimko, Grosse Pointe Farms fire inspector.
The first of three alarms sounded at 3:36 a.m.
Fire truck sirens broke the silence in parts of the lower Pointes as offi cers from the City of Grosse Pointe and Park answered the second and third alarms, respectively.
Flames were extinguished and the last truck was driven back to headquarters at 5:21 a.m.
There were no injuries.
"Offi cers received a call from the male resident (on Madison next to where the fire started) trying to remove his wheelchaired, handicapped relative," according to a summary by Farms Sgt. Holly Krizmanich, incident commander. "(I) assisted with removal of the handicapped resident from the home. His garage was on fi re as well."
Investigators on scene while the properties still burned returned at midday to find little to sift through except cinders.
Losses of property and contents were estimated to total $40,000.
There's a saying among fire fighters: The three main causes of fire are men, women and children.
"I think it was human error," said Farms Detective Lt. Richard Rosati.
"A resident had an open fire pit going," Shimko said.
Patrolmen were in the neighborhood hours before the fire trying to trace an odor of smoke.
"At about 11 p.m. or midnight (Saturday, Aug. 17), offi cers were looking for it on Lothrop or Madison," Shimko said. "They couldn't find it."
Fire fighters from the three sister cities split their duties.
Farms offi cers staged on Madison and extinguished the first garage.
(The City) responded with their engine to the rear garage on Lothrop, secured a water source of Lothrop and extinguished the flames," Krizmanich said.
Park officers staged on Chalfonte and put out the second garage on Madison.