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Official: Firefighters not told child was in burning home

April 17, 2021 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — Police in Detroit have launched an investigation after people living in a home that caught fire failed to tell firefighters an 18-month-old girl was inside the house.

Firefighters rescued the toddler from the burning eastside home on April 5, Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell told The Detroit News in a story Saturday.

Several adults were outside and asked firefighters to save dogs that were in the burning house. Firefighters went to different parts of the home after asking if anyone was inside, Fornell said.

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As black smoke filled one of the rooms, a firefighter noticed a crib and saw the child.

A woman later identified as the adoptive mother acknowledged the girl after the firefighter carried the child outdoors in his arms.

Firefighters were “totally dumbfounded” when they found the child, Fornell said.

“It is extremely unusual that when we pulled up the family never mentioned there was a child in the building,” he added.

The girl was taken to a hospital where it later was learned she had “injuries inconsistent with being trapped in a fire,” Fornell said.

Police and Children’s Protective Services were alerted. The child was placed with another guardian, said Officer Holly Lance, a Detroit police spokeswoman.

Firefighters are investigating the cause of the blaze as suspicious.

Dogs and puppies inside the house did not appear to be harmed by the fire which mostly damaged the kitchen.