House Fires

Fire at Quebec retirement home kills dozens

By Keith Jones, 25 January 2014

Firefighters and other emergency workers have pointed to the absence of a sprinkler system in the older half of the residence as the main reason for the horrendous loss of life.

Elderly couple dies in house fire on Detroit’s west side

By Shannon Jones, 6 January 2014

The deaths are the most recent in a series of tragedies related to the use of space heaters in cold weather.

At least one dead in explosion in Minnesota neighborhood

By Eric London, 3 January 2014

Multi-billion dollar CenterPoint Energy, Inc. is likely to blame for an explosion in a working class neighborhood in Minneapolis, which killed at least one worker.

Deadly house fires as winter freeze hits Detroit

By our reporting team, 13 December 2013

Two Detroit house fires in the past week have left two children dead and other residents injured.

On-the-spot report

House fire caused by utility shutoff kills three young children in the Bronx

By our reporters, 28 October 2013

The callousness and profit interests of Consolidated Edison led to the deaths in the Highbridge section of New York City’s poorest borough.

Six perish in Ohio home fire

By Samuel Davidson, 18 September 2013

Six members of one family, including five children, were killed in a fire that swept through their trailer home early Sunday morning in Tiffin, Ohio.

Seven killed in Pennsylvania house fire

By Tom Eley, 8 July 2013

A July 4 house fire resulted in the deaths of seven members of a Lancaster, Pennsylvania household.

Four children and two adults killed in Pennsylvania house fire

By Samuel Davidson and Tom Eley, 18 May 2013

Water service had been shut off two weeks before a tragic Mother’s Day house fire took the lives of four children and two adults in the small town of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

Two die in northeast Detroit house fire

By Bryan Dyne, 3 May 2013

An elderly couple, one of whom was disabled, died in a house fire in northeast Detroit, the latest fire-related tragedy in the city.

Eight children dead in fires in the US south

By Nick Barrickman, Rosa Shahnazarian and Matthew MacEgan, 29 April 2013

Two devastating house fires claimed the lives of nine people in Georgia and South Carolina last week.

Emergency manager to impose contract on Detroit firefighters

By WSWS reporting team, 16 April 2013

Detroit firefighters will have a new contract imposed on them by emergency manager Kevyn Orr starting July 1.

Fire kills five near Sherrard, Illinois

By George Marlowe, 1 April 2013

A deadly fire in Sherrard, Illinois killed five people in a double-wide mobile home.

Germany: Turkish mother and seven children killed in fire

By K. Nesan, 13 March 2013

A fire in southern Germany on Sunday claimed the lives of eight members of a Turkish family.

Kentucky house fire kills seven

By Naomi Spencer, 11 March 2013

A young couple and five small children died in a house fire in southeastern Kentucky Saturday morning.

Four perish in Maryland house fire

By Adam Sagitov, 28 February 2013

A house fire claimed the lives of three children and one adult Thursday in a Washington, DC suburb.

EMS cuts delayed ambulance in fatal Detroit fire

By Lawrence Porter, 31 January 2013

Anger is growing over the death of a six-year-old boy in a Southwest Detroit house fire.

Another Detroit child dies in house fire

By Lawrence Porter, 30 January 2013

Early Tuesday morning, a six-year-old child died in a house fire on Detroit’s southwest side. His brother, 4, was hospitalized in critical condition.

Detroit house fire kills nine-month-old child

By Bryan Dyne and Lawrence Porter, 28 January 2013

The Wayne County Medical Examiner issued a report stating that the child, Akira Perkins-Williams, succumbed to smoke inhalation.

Closed fire station costs Detroit resident her home

By a WSWS reporting team, 23 January 2013

The Detroit Fire Department took 21 minutes to respond to a fire because nearby stations were either closed or browned out, a result of the cuts to public services in Detroit.

House fires kill 11 in US south

By Matthew MacEgan, 12 January 2013

The past two weeks have seen a host of residential fires across the country resulting in multiple deaths, including many children.

Michigan woman killed in blaze near closed fire station

By David Brown and Andre Damon, 7 December 2012

A 73-year old Alabama woman visiting relatives in Taylor, Michigan burned to death in a mobile home Thursday morning in a fire rescuers believe could have been ignited by a space heater.

Firefighter says budget cuts are “killing people.”

Elderly couple dies in Detroit fire

By Lawrence Porter and Bryan Dyne, 21 November 2012

A fire on the west side of Detroit early Sunday morning resulted in the deaths of an elderly couple in their 70s, Kyle and Theresa Bozeman.

Five deaths in Baltimore row house fire

By Nick Barrickman, 13 October 2012

Not until later reports of the tragedy were made public was it revealed that four of the five deaths were young children.

Firefighters speak with the WSWS at Burn premiere

By Lawrence Porter and Bryan Dyne, 3 October 2012

WSWS reporters spoke to firefighters at the premiere of Burn: One Year on the Front Lines of the Battle to Save Detroit.

Detroit to lay off 164 firefighters

By David Brown, 27 June 2012

Democratic Party Mayor Dave Bing of Detroit has announced plans to lay off 18 percent of the city’s firefighters.

Housing and utilities are a social right

Statement by Phyllis Scherrer, SEP candidate for vice president

By Phyllis Scherrer, 21 April 2012

The tragic fires in Philadelphia last week, which claimed the lives of six residents and two firefighters, are an indictment of the social conditions created by the crisis and decay of American capitalism.

Spate of fires kills eight in Philadelphia

By Naomi Spencer, 18 April 2012

Three fires in less than a week have claimed eight lives in Philadelphia. Behind the tragedies looms a spiraling social crisis in the United States.

Seventeen migrant workers die in Moscow fire

By Clara Weiss, 7 April 2012

At least 17 migrant workers, apparently undocumented and from Central Asian republics, died in a horrific fire in the southwest of Moscow early Tuesday morning.

West Virginia house fire kills nine

By Clement Daly, 26 March 2012

A house fire in Charleston, West Virginia early Saturday morning left nine dead, including seven children.

Detroit residents speak about deadly house fire

By David Brown, 6 March 2012

A house fire Sunday night in a Detroit working class neighborhood claimed the life of an elderly woman and hospitalized her husband. WSWS reporters spoke with some of the neighbors.

Chicago officials deny antiquated fire code caused woman’s death

By Christopher Davion and Kristina Betinis, 18 January 2012

A 32-year old woman died last week when the apartment building elevator delivered her into a blaze on the 12th floor.

House fire caused by space heater kills three in Ohio

By Naomi Spencer, 30 December 2011

A Columbus, Ohio family was killed in a house fire on Christmas Eve after a space heater ignited the mattress they were sleeping on.

Disabled man killed in Detroit-area apartment fire

By Lawrence Porter, 23 December 2011

A deadly fire erupted early Thursday morning in Hazel Park, Michigan, killing a retired auto worker and injuring three other people.

Detroit house-fire season begins amid cuts in firefighting

By Lawrence Porter, 12 December 2011

Early Friday morning a fire swept through a two-flat home on Detroit’s eastside, trapping two families with five children in a massive blaze.

House fire in Detroit suburb kills three in multi-generation home

By Lawrence Porter, 5 October 2011

According to a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, the largest increase in the number of Americans living in multi-generational households in modern history has occurred in the last three years.

Six die in Vancouver, Washington, house fire

By Hector Cordon, 2 May 2011

The fire appears to have been started by Tuan Dao, who perished along with his five children, after the bank foreclosed on his house and he was forced to file for bankruptcy.

Detroit house fire kills child, injures another

By Lawrence Porter, 23 April 2011

A house fire on Detroit’s northeast side killed one child and severely injured another.

Pennsylvania farm family loses seven children to fire

By Phyllis Scherrer and Andrea Peters, 10 March 2011

Late Tuesday evening a fire engulfed the house on a family farm in Pennsylvania, killing seven of eight children.

New York: Elderly woman killed in blaze after fire department cutbacks

By Ali Ismail, 18 February 2011

Budget cutbacks were blamed for the death of one woman and the injuries of seven other residents after a fire in a Brooklyn apartment building

Unemployed Detroit woman dies in house fire

Poverty, space heaters and steel bars: a common deadly mix

By Lawrence Porter, 28 January 2011

An unemployed nurse died in a house fire on Detroit’s east side Thursday morning. Irene Smith Spencer, 49, was using space heaters.

Detroit house fire injures five

By Lawrence Porter, 26 January 2011

Early Monday morning, fire destroyed a home on the west side of Detroit where both the gas and electricity had been shut off.

Fire destroys three homes in historic Delray neighborhood of Detroit

By Lawrence Porter, 22 January 2011

On Thursday a fire in an abandoned Detroit home quickly spread to the occupied homes on either side, creating a total loss for the neighbors.

Utility shutoff leads to three deaths in Oakland, California apartment fire

By Oliver Richards and Kevin Kearney, 22 January 2011

The deadly fire that broke out in an Oakland apartment involved problems faced by working people throughout the country: unemployment, poverty, utility shutoffs, home foreclosure, and the plight of immigrant workers.

House fires claim 30 lives around the US

By Samuel Davidson, 21 January 2011

The seven days from January 11 through January 17 have claimed the lives of over 30 people and scores of others have been left homeless by house fires.

Details of Seattle, Washington area fire deaths released

By Hector Cordon, 7 January 2011

The tragic deaths of five family members in an apartment fire in the Seattle area New Year’s Day was determined to be smoke inhalation. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

Fire kills five family members in the Seattle, Washington area

By Hector Cordon, 3 January 2011

An early morning, two-alarm fire swept through several apartment units on New Year’s Day, killing four children and their father in Redmond, Washington

Fire in abandoned New Orleans warehouse kills 8

By Kate Randall, 29 December 2010

Eight people perished in an abandoned warehouse in the US city of New Orleans Tuesday morning after lighting a fire to keep warm in freezing temperatures.

Spate of cold-related deaths in Chicago

By Clement Daly, 16 December 2010

As extreme winter weather sweeps over the Midwest, the Chicago area has witnessed a series of preventable cold-related deaths.

Six die in Baltimore fire

By David Walsh, 15 December 2010

Three children and three adults died in a house fire in east Baltimore early Tuesday morning, in one of the city’s worst fire tragedies in recent years.

Two-year-old boy dies in Detroit house fire

By Lawrence Porter, 11 December 2010

Another horrific fire ripped through a home in an impoverished area of Detroit’s east side Wednesday evening, killing a two-year-old boy and severely injuring his grandmother and eight-year-old sister.

US: Tennessee home left to burn over $75 fee

By Naomi Spencer, 6 October 2010

Firefighters were told to stand down as a family’s home burned because they had not paid a fee for fire protection.

Gas line explosion in California kills four, injures dozens

By Kevin Kearney, 11 September 2010

Four people were killed, 52 injured, and dozens of homes were destroyed when a gas line exploded in the San Francisco suburb of San Bruno Thursday evening.

Committee Against Utility Shutoffs and SEP hold press conference on Detroit fires

By our reporter, 11 September 2010

Detroit residents and members of the Socialist Equality Party and the Committee Against Utility Shutoffs denounced the Detroit city government and energy company DTE for their role in a wave of house fires.

Over 160,000 Michigan utility shutoffs from January to May 2010

By Lawrence Porter, 21 July 2010

Recent figures, obtained by the World Socialist Web Site from the Michigan Public Services Commission (MPSC), confirm the unrelenting and inhuman policy of utility shutoffs in the State of Michigan, despite the well publicized series of deaths last winter as a direct result.

Detroit fires kill two, injure one

By Josué Olmos, Dwight Stoll and Andre Damon, 17 July 2010

Separate fires tore through two Detroit homes early Thursday morning, leaving one elderly woman and one child dead, and another child hospitalized.

Detroit resident speaks on utility shutoff

19 May 2010

Winifred Sylvester is the caregiver for her 77-year-old stepmother and is battling to have the heat turned back on, but will likely face losing electricity as well.

Letter to CAUS

The media and utility shutoffs in Pennsylvania

By Jaqueline S. Homan, 19 May 2010

A letter to CAUS from a supporter describing the utilities crisis in Pennsylvania and its coverage in the media.

Two men perish in Detroit house fire

By Andrea Peters and James Brewer, 14 May 2010

Two men died in a fire in southwest Detroit on Thursday morning at a home that may have been without utilities.

Video: Friend of Detroit fire victim denounces utility shutoffs

14 May 2010

Eric speaks to the WSWS about the circumstances of the deadly house fire which took the life of his friend.

Four California children die in blaze at home without electricity

By Andrea Peters, 1 May 2010

Four young children perished in a house fire in northern California on Wednesday. The blaze was sparked by a candle that was being used because the local utility provider, PG&E, shut off electricity at the home for non-payment.

Video: Mother of young children killed in Detroit house fire speaks

21 April 2010

Sylvia Young speaks to the report-back meeting of the Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue fire on April 13, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The fire occurred on March 2, just hours after her gas and electricity were cut off by local utility monopoly, DTE Energy.

Referee throws out case against Sylvia Young

Detroit mother lost three children in house fire

By Jerry White, 17 April 2010

A referee at the Third Circuit Court in Detroit on Friday threw out the case against Sylvia Young, the 31-year-old mother who lost three small children in a house fire on March 2. Keywords (at least 5 words or phrases, separated by commas): Sylvia Young, DTE, Detroit, fires, energy, “illegal hookups,” Citizen’s Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire

Detroit meeting indicts DTE in fatal house fires

Committee formed to broaden struggle against shutoffs

By Tom Eley, 15 April 2010

At the report-back meeting of the Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire, Detroit residents voted unanimously in favor of the committee’s findings, and established a committee to advance the struggle against utility shutoffs.  

Video: Head of legal services nonprofit speaks before Dexter Avenue Inquiry

5 April 2010

Marilyn Mullane, Executive Director of Michigan Legal Services, spoke about the lack of help available for Detroit families who fall behind on their utility bills. Her testimony was part of the Dexter Avenue Fire inquiry, which brought together workers, investigators, and experts in an investigation into the causes of two deadly house fires in Detroit.

Obama cuts to home energy assistance to have devastating consequences

By Hiram Lee, 27 March 2010

The Obama administration’s 35 percent cut to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program will have deadly consequences for those in danger of utility shutoffs.

Vendetta continues against mother who lost three in Detroit fire

Sylvia Young and family members speak out against utility shutoffs

By Jerry White, 26 March 2010

The legal witch hunt against the young mother who lost three of her children in a March 2 house fire in Detroit—just hours after DTE Energy cut off heat and electrical service to her home—is continuing.

Hearing of the Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire

25 March 2010

The Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire: Utility Shutoffs and the Social Crisis in Detroit held a hearing at Wayne State University on March 20.

March 20 hearing of the Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire

Deindustrialization, the UAW and the Decline of Detroit

By Jerry White, 25 March 2010

Utility shutoffs and the lack of the most basic necessities in Detroit are the consequences of a decades-long assault on the jobs and living standards of the working class.

March 20 hearing of the Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire

Utility shutoffs: Who profits?

By Tom Eley, 24 March 2010

Report to the Citizens Inquiry on the policies DTE has used to generate profit in spite of the economic crisis, and who has benefited from these policies.

DTE Energy holds public relations event as utility shut-offs continue

By Tom Eley, 24 March 2010

Seeking to calm anger over utility shut-offs, DTE Energy joined state authorities at a Detroit media event on Tuesday designed to portray the energy giant as a caring corporation.

The significance of the Dexter Avenue Fire Inquiry

By Joe Kishore, 23 March 2010

The initial hearing of the Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire in Detroit on Saturday was a significant event in the life of the working class.

Video: Director of Detroit free medical clinic denounces utility shutoffs

23 March 2010

Sister Mary Ellen Howard is the Executive Director of Detroit’s Cabrini Clinic, the oldest free medical facility in the US. She discusses the impact of utility shutoffs on patients at the clinic.

March 20 hearing of the Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire

The role of the government in deadly US house fires

By Andrea Peters, 23 March 2010

Report submitted to the Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire about the role of the government in allowing utility shutoffs that lead to deadly house fires.

Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire holds first hearing

By a WSWS reporting team, 22 March 2010

At the initial public hearing of the Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire, held Saturday at Wayne State University in Detroit, Inquiry commissioners heard testimony from residents, experts and researchers about utility shutoffs and house fires in Detroit, the practices and political influence of energy giant DTE, and the broader social crisis in the city.

Despite ruling by referee

Court appointed guardian pursues neglect charges against Sylvia Young

By Tom Eley, 20 March 2010

A court appointed guardian is pursuing charges of neglect in a new court only a day after a ruling by a court referee to dismiss a case against Sylvia Young, the Detroit mother who lost three young children in a March 2 house fire.

Mother who lost three children in Detroit fire speaks out

Legal witch hunt against Sylvia Young collapsing

By Jerry White, 19 March 2010

The effort by the state of Michigan to frame up Sylvia Young, the mother of three small children who perished in a Detroit house fire on March 2, is falling apart as the charges of neglect against the 30-year-old mother have been exposed as nothing but a concoction by the authorities.

United Community Housing Coalition director to testify at Detroit inquiry

Ted Phillips: “Thousands of people are living without lights, water or gas”

By Lawrence Porter, 19 March 2010

Ted Phillips, executive director of United Community Housing Coalition, is scheduled to testify this Saturday in Detroit at the Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire.

DTE, Wall Street profit from utility shutoffs

By Tom Eley, 18 March 2010

In spite of Depression-like conditions in its market, southeast Michigan, DTE pulled in handsome profits in 2009.

Video: Dexter Avenue area residents express anger over utility shutoffs

By a reporting team, 18 March 2010

The World Socialist Web Site interviewed several residents of the Detroit neighborhood.

Detroit firefighters discuss impact of utility shut-offs and budget cuts

By Jerry White, 17 March 2010

At a dinner for Sylvia Young—who lost three children in a March 2 house fire hours after DTE cut power and gas to her Detroit home—firefighters spoke with the WSWS about the deadly consequences of utility shut-offs.

Former legislator Juanita Goggins freezes to death in South Carolina home

By Hiram Lee, 16 March 2010

Juanita Goggins, the first black woman elected to South Carolina's state government in 1974, froze to death in her home in late February. Goggins suffered from dementia, and her utilities had been shut off after she had not paid her bills.

The deadly consequences of utility shutoffs

By Andrea Peters, 16 March 2010

There is a clear link between utility shutoffs and deadly house fires, driven by the fact that people resort to unsafe methods to stay warm and keep the lights on when without gas and electricity. The utility companies and the government are aware of this, but continue shutoffs.

Funeral held for Detroit children killed in Bangor Street fire

By Jerry White, 15 March 2010

Hundreds of people on Saturday attended a funeral in Detroit for three small children who were killed in a March 2 house fire, which occurred hours after DTE Energy cut off gas and electricity to the home.

The 1993 Mack Avenue fire inquiry

By Shannon Jones, 15 March 2010

In 1993 The Workers League, the forerunner of the Socialist Equality Party, intervened to defend a working class couple unjustly prosecuted for the deaths of their seven children in a tragic house fire in Detroit.

Neighbor discusses Dexter Ave. fire, utility shutoffs

13 March 2010

Lawrence Porter talks with Christine Silvertooth, who resides in the neighborhood where the January 5 fatal fire occurred, about her utility bills and shutoffs.

“The deaths here at Dexter Avenue should never have happened”

Press conference held by Detroit Citizens Inquiry

By Tom Eley, 12 March 2010

In the wake of a rash of deadly house fires in Detroit, the Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire held a press conference on Thursday afternoon calling for public participation in a fact-finding hearing, which will be held March 20 at Wayne State University in Detroit. 


Citizens’ Inquiry chairman and family member speak at press conference

12 March 2010

Lawrence Porter, chairman of the Citizens' Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire, and Charlotte Nash, sister of two of the fire victims, spoke at the press conference on Thursday.

Dexter Avenue Fire Inquiry to hold press conference Thursday in Detroit

By Andrea Peters, 11 March 2010

The Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire is holding a press conference on Thursday, as opposition to utility shutoffs and house fires grows throughout the Detroit-area.

Elderly woman dies in Detroit house fire

DTE cut gas, electricity in 2006

By a WSWS reporting team, 11 March 2010

An elderly woman died in a Detroit house fire on Tuesday evening. While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, the woman had lived without gas and electricity since 2006.

Dexter Avenue fire victim's son speaks to the WSWS

11 March 2010

Marvin Allen Jr., whose father was killed in the January 5 Detroit house fire, speaks with Lawrence Porter of the WSWS about the circumstances of the fatal fire. The shutoff and subsequent refusal of DTE Energy to restore power to the house was the major factor leading to the tragedy.

A photographic exposé of the social crisis in Detroit

10 March 2010

A collection of photographs taken in the Detroit neighborhoods where lethal house fires recently took place.

As death toll from fatal house fires increases

Mayor plans to relocate poor residents to “downsize” Detroit

By Jerry White, 9 March 2010

A series of fatal house fires have occurred in Detroit as the mayor of the city prepares to force residents out of poor neighborhoods and bulldoze their homes in order to eliminate public services to whole swaths of the city.

From the catalog of Mehring Books

The Truth Behind the Mack Avenue Fire

9 March 2010

In connection with the Citizens Inquiry sponsored by the Socialist Equality Party into the recent fire on Dexter Avenue in Detroit and the social conditions that gave rise to it, Mehring Books is recommending to readers The Truth Behind the Mack Avenue Fire.

Authorities, media launch witch-hunt against Sylvia Young

Who are the real criminals behind the Detroit house fires?

By Tom Eley, 8 March 2010

Detroit area media and city and state authorities have launched a witch-hunt against Sylvia Young, the mother of three young children who died in a March 2 house fire on Bangor Street in Detroit.

THAW, United Way: No help for utility shutoffs

By Nancy Hanover, 8 March 2010

In the aftermath of the deaths of 14 Detroiters as a result of utility shutoffs over the last two months, the media, the utility company and state and local officials have attempted to shift the blame onto the victims, claiming they failed to seek the help that is readily available.

State attempts to victimize mother of fire victims

Sylvia Young says she pled with Detroit utility to keep heat on

By Jerry White, 6 March 2010

Michigan state has filed a negligence case against Sylvia Young, the 30-year-old mother who lost three children in a Detroit house fire. Young told the World Socialist Web Site that she pled with an employee from DTE Energy not to shut off electricity and gas service hours before the fire.

The role of the government in Detroit’s deadly house fires

By Andrea Peters, 6 March 2010

The city of Detroit and the state of Michigan share responsibility for the house fire that took the lives of three children on Tuesday.

Woman severely injured in Detroit house fire

By Lawrence Porter, 6 March 2010

As anger over utility shutoffs in Detroit grows, yet another fire on Friday left one person severely injured. The house had been without utilities for years.

Video: Neighbors of Detroit fire victims oppose utility shutoffs

6 March 2010

WSWS reporters interviewed neighbors of the victims of the fire on March 2, two days after the tragedy.

Deadly house fires in Detroit: Who is responsible?

By Tom Eley, 5 March 2010

Fires in Detroit-area homes with suspended utilities have claimed the lives of a number of people in recent months. Fault does not rest with the victims.