By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR – No matter how close the responders were it wasn’t enough to save a life lost to what fire officials determined was, “a tragic accident.”
Fire Chief Steve Portis said that in spite of arriving at a fire-engulfed house within two minutes of the alarm, the blaze had taken the life of 28-year-old Christopher Akers.
“There was nothing we could do,” Portis said.
The call came in at 3:17 a.m. Sept. 12 for a house fire in the 6800 block of Marvin, just a few blocks from the city’s central fire station.
“We got there in two minutes, and there were heavy fire conditions in front of the house,” Portis said.
The single-story house had been taken over by flames; a gable had caught on fire and engulfed the front entry.
“We’d had reports that someone was trapped,” Portis said. “We knew it was likely a rescue situation.”
Akers and his 27-year-old girlfriend – who was treated at a nearby hospital for smoke inhalation and non life-threatening burn injuries – were the only ones in the house at the time.
Portis said the fire was contained and knocked down quickly. Fire investigators and police said Akers and his girlfriend had been celebrating his recent birthday and had fallen asleep with candles left burning.
Police Chief Mary Sclabassi said the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed that Akers died in the house.
Akers had reportedly made sure that his girlfriend had gotten outside of the house before being trapped by flames near the entrance.
“It was ruled accidental. Just a tragic accident,” Portis said.
Akers, a graduate of Taylor Kennedy High School who’d attended Henry Ford College, will be remembered during a funeral mass at 11 a.m. Sept. 26 at St. Alfred Catholic Church, 24175 Baske. Assistance for the family can be arranged through Alliance Catholic Credit Union, 9300 Cooper, Taylor, MI, 48180.
(James Mitchell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)