House Fires

Three children perish in Detroit house fire

By a WSWS reporting team, 4 March 2010

Three children died in a house fire on Detroit’s west side on Tuesday evening, in another blaze caused by the shutoff of utilities to the home.

Interviews with neighbors of fire victims

4 March 2010

On the evening of March 2, a fire raged through a West side Detroit home, killing three of the seven children living there. DTE had shut off the gas and electricity only hours earlier.

Video report

Dexter Avenue Fire Inquiry: Sister of victims speaks on utility shutoffs

2 March 2010

The Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue fire of January 5 has begun interviews with relatives, neighbors and Detroit residents. We begin with an interview with Charlotte Nash, the sister of two of the victims.

Attend the fact-finding inquiry

The Dexter Avenue fire: Utility shutoffs and the social crisis in Detroit

By Socialist Equality Party, 25 February 2010

The SEP is calling on workers, young people and all those concerned about the worsening social conditions in Detroit to participate in a fact-finding inquiry into the January 5 house fire on Dexter Ave. which killed three residents living without utilities.

Chicago fire claims seven young lives

By Matthew Brennan, 17 February 2010

Seven young people, ranging in age from three days to 20 years old, were killed last Sunday morning when they could not escape from a burning apartment building on Chicago’s southwest side.

Utility shutoffs responsible for another death in Detroit

By Lawrence Porter, 4 February 2010

A house fire after a utility shutoff claimed another victim, the latest in a series of tragic and entirely preventable deaths in the poorest large city in the US.

Hundreds attend funeral for victims of Detroit house fire

By Lawrence Porter, 14 January 2010

More than 300 people attended a funeral for Marvin and Tyrone Allen of Detroit, who died in a house fire after their utilities had been shut off.

Wave of cold-related fire deaths in the American South

By a reporter, 12 January 2010

Dozens of people have died in house fires in the southern US, a consequence of the severe cold weather of the past two weeks and the dilapidated and hazardous housing stock in the region. In the worst fire, nine people died, including six young children.

Homelessness, utility shutoffs lead to house fires, freezing deaths

US cold snap highlights depth of social crisis

By Kate Randall, 7 January 2010

A cold snap in the US has been blamed for at least seven confirmed deaths, as homeless shelters struggle to keep up with demand.

Cut off from heat in freezing temperatures

Three die in Detroit house fire

By Lawrence Porter, 6 January 2010

Following a week of bitter cold weather, three people living in a home without gas or electrical service died in a tragic house fire in Detroit early Tuesday morning.

Six die in New Year’s Day house fire in Washington DC

By Kate Randall, 3 January 2009

Six people died in a New Year’s Day house fire in Washington DC. Authorities suspect “a catastrophic electrical failure” as the cause of the blaze.

House fire in Philadelphia kills seven

By Naomi Spencer, 29 December 2008

An intense house blaze has claimed seven lives in a working class neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Utilities cut off to 1 in 20 US households in 2007

By Kate Randall, 18 December 2008

A survey released Wednesday shows that utility service was cut off to 1 in 20 households in the US in 2007, spelling hardship for families forced to go without heat, hot water, lighting, or cooking facilities, and exposing them to the danger of house fires.

US: The social and historical roots of the Highland Park fire tragedy

By Tom Eley, 6 December 2008

Conditions in Highland Park provide a microcosm of the rise and decline of heavy industry, and especially auto manufacturing, in the US. The city saw the deaths of three young children and their aunt on October 22 following the cutoff of utilities to their home.

The rise and fall of Highland Park, Michigan

6 December 2008

The WSWS interviews Kurt Metzger, Director of the Detroit Area Community Indicators System, about the rise and decline of Highland Park, Michigan.

Death of Detroit firefighter: victim of a city’s social decay

By Lawrence Porter, 25 November 2008

On Friday, November 21, a funeral service attended by close to 3,000 people was held for Detroit firefighter Walter Harris, who died fighting a fire in an abandoned home on the city’s east side.

Thousands mourn Detroit Firefighter

25 November 2008

Thousands of firefighters from across the United States and Canada joined family members and many concerned residents of Detroit last Friday, November 21, to mourn the death of Walter Harris a much-loved and admired 17-year member of the Detroit Fire Department. The World Socialist Web Site sent reporters to attend the funeral and speak to some of those who were there.

Utility cut-offs on the rise in the US

“More than an energy issue, a serious public health issue”

By Tom Eley, 6 November 2008

Utility companies are suspending heating and electrical service to customers at a far higher rate than in previous years, according to a recent Wall Street Journal story.

WSWS speaks with family members of Michigan fire victims

By the, 1 November 2008

WSWS reporter D'Artagnan Collier spoke to family members and a teacher of one of the victims of the fire in Highland Park, Michigan which killed four people on Wednesday, October 22.

Detroit residents denounce social decay in fire deaths

30 October 2008

The following video is part of a series by the World Socialist Web Site reporters on the dire social conditions prevailing former auto production centers in Detroit.

Detroit residents and firemen denounce social decay in fire deaths

By Daniel Douglass, D’Artagnan Collier and Tim Tower, 29 October 2008

Residents and firemen in Highland Park, Michigan have denounced the social conditions that led to the deaths of three children in a tragic house fire last week.

Highland Park, Michigan residents speak on deadly fire

24 October 2008

The World Socialist Web Site sent a reporting team to Highland Park, Michigan, where a house fire killed four people in the early morning hours of Wednesday, October 22, 2008. Residents spoke to the WSWS about the terrible social conditions in the city.

Detroit area house fire kills four

By Tom Eley, 23 October 2008

Early Wednesday morning three children and their great aunt died in a house fire in Highland Park, Michigan. The likely cause of the fire was an electrical space heater the family was using for warmth after companies suspended gas service.

Fires claim lives of seven in New York City

By the Bill Van Auken, 14 October 2008

Two deadly fires that broke out in separate working class neighborhoods of New York City over the weekend claimed the lives of seven people, four of them children.

Deadly fire kills five children in Pittsburgh home

By Samuel Davidson, 16 June 2007

Early Tuesday morning, June 12, a deadly fire swept through a three-story home in a poverty-stricken neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, killing five children, aged three to seven.

Mother, three children perish in Detroit house fire

By Mark Rainer and Shannon Jones, 22 May 2007

A pregnant mother and her three young children were killed in a house fire in southwest Detroit early Monday morning. The father remains in critical condition, with burns over 85 percent of his body.

House fire deaths highlight levels of poverty in Australia

By Jake Skeers, 9 August 2005

Accidental house fires have killed more than 20 people in Australia so far this winter—predominately in the most disadvantaged city suburbs and in rural areas. During May, June and July, at least 14 people died in the most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), compared to 20 for the entire year of 2004.

US: Five children killed in Philadelphia house fire

By Jamie Chapman, 14 June 2005

Five small children perished Sunday morning in a blaze that swept through their Philadelphia row house at 2870 Amber Street. The victims ranged in age from six months to six years. Their mother Shannon Bowers survived by jumping from a second floor window into a small wading pool that had just been installed in front of the house for the children. She remains in critical condition in nearby Temple Hospital. Her partner Lester Cooke, who also jumped to escape the fire, was treated there and released.

House fire in Delaware claims the lives of 11 members of one family

By Larry Roberts, 8 January 2001

The new year began with another tragic house fire in the US. This time the victims were 11 members of one impoverished black family living in a rural area of Delaware. The early morning blaze on January 3 was the latest of a series of fatal fires in working class and poor neighborhoods during one of the harshest winters on record in many parts of the country.

Detroit house fire claims three more lives

Defective fire hydrants hamper rescue efforts

By Larry Roberts, 18 December 2000

Three Detroit residents, including two children ages 10 and 13, died in a house fire December 13 in the second deadly blaze to hit the city in the space of two weeks. As in the earlier tragedy, which claimed the lives of six children—ages 2-7—on December 1, rescue efforts by firefighters were hampered by malfunctioning fire hydrants.

Six children die in Detroit house fire: faulty fire-fighting equipment sent to scene of blaze

By Larry Roberts, 6 December 2000

On Friday morning, December 1, shortly after 10 a.m., a horrific fire in a low-income public housing project in Detroit claimed the lives of six children between the ages of two and seven. The Detroit Fire Department ruled that the blaze at 2535 St. Antoine on the city's east side was accidental, caused by a burning mattress in a first-floor bedroom of the two-story apartment.

Detroit fire death toll at 79

Blaze kills six children in Detroit working class neighborhood

By D'Artagnan Collier, 31 December 1998

 The death of six children in a Detroit house fire on December 27 is the latest in a series of fatal blazes that has driven the 1998 fire death toll in the city to 79, an increase of 22 over last year. Of those killed, half were children. Thirteen children died in December alone.

Detroit firefighter speaks out: "All these kids do not have to die"

By a WSWS reporting team, 31 December 1998

 Reporters from the WSWS met with a group of Detroit firefighters at a station not far from the scene of the December 27 fire that killed six children. By the time their company arrived to assist, the blaze had already claimed the children's lives. The firefighters expressed concerns over cuts that have taken place in the department, leading to an increase in civilian casualties and grave danger to the firefighters themselves.

House fires during the holidays kill scores of people acrosss the US

By Shannon Jones, 31 December 1998

A spate of fatal fires over the holidays has exposed the reality of widespread social distress behind the media-created image of a prosperous and contented population in America. A large portion of the victims were children, for the most part living in poor neighborhoods and dilapidated homes, in many cases without gas, light or heat.