Autistic Detroiter dies after becoming trapped in burning home - Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Autistic Detroiter dies after becoming trapped in burning home

Posted: Updated:

By Amy Lange
Fox 2 News


DETROIT (WJBK) -- 30-year-old Tony Mitchell, a cherished son, autistic and trapped inside his burning home on Kentfield in the Brightmoor neighborhood on the city's west side.  He had awakened his mother, Beatrice, around 2:30 Friday morning to tell her there was smoke in the house.

"She got up, tried to get them both out of the house, but he had to use the bathroom and somehow got caught in the bathroom," said Ronnie Griffin.

He said his nephew saved his mother's life, but because of his special needs he could not save his own.  His mother and neighbors sure tried.

Neighbor Richard Bryant grabbed a shovel, ran across the street and started knocking out windows trying to get to Tony, but he just couldn't reach him.

There were no fire trucks, at least not for a few minutes when every second counted, even though Engine 57 is just six blocks away, a two minute response time.  It was closed for the day due to the city's financial problems.  Instead Ladder 26 and Engine 54 had to come from two miles away still making it in an impressive four minutes, but it was too late.  They tried to find Tony, but couldn't locate him until they put the fire out.

"Within a half a mile of the station, we have 2,000 students and three schools.  We've got 28 churches," said Peter Lisiecki.

He also explained that within a mile and a half of Engine 57 are 50,000 residents and 400 businesses.

Lisiecki is with a coalition of community activists who met with the fire commissioner before the holidays to try to convince him to reopen Engine 57 full time.  It's clearly a matter of life and death.

"This fatality shows about how urgent the matter is," Lisiecki said.  "We can't afford to wait."

We heard from the commissioner that the cause of the fire appears to be electrical.

  • Amy LangeMore from Amy LangeMore>>

  • Freedom from Religion debate heats up at Warren City Hall

    Freedom from Religion debate heats up at Warren City Hall

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:12 PM EDT2014-04-16 23:12:16 GMT
    Is Freedom of Religion the same concept as Freedom from Religion? That's the debate one Warren resident is raising at City Hall.
    Is Freedom of Religion the same concept as Freedom from Religion? That's the debate one Warren resident is raising at City Hall.
  • GM looking to bankruptcy court for lawsuit protection

    GM looking to bankruptcy court for lawsuit protection

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:14 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:14:09 GMT
    General Motors says it will ask a federal bankruptcy judge to shield the company from legal claims involving conduct before its 2009 bankruptcy.
    General Motors says it will ask a federal bankruptcy judge to shield the company from legal claims involving conduct before its 2009 bankruptcy.
  • New lawyer comes aboard in Bashara case

    New lawyer comes aboard in Bashara case

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 6:33 PM EDT2014-04-15 22:33:50 GMT
    A man charged with arranging the murder of his wife at their suburban Detroit home has a new lawyer.
    A man charged with arranging the murder of his wife at their suburban Detroit home has a new lawyer.
Powered by WorldNow

KTTV FOX 11
1999 S. Bundy Dr.
Los Angeles CA 90025

Main: (310) 584-2000
News Tips? (310) 584-2025

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices