DETROIT — DTE Energy said unauthorized utility service was shut off at a Detroit home where a fire killed three young children and left two hurt.
Spokesman Scott Simons said a meter at the west side home on Bangor Street had been tampered with and power was turned off Tuesday.
The fire started just before 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Simons said utilities first were shut off Dec. 11 at the request of a customer moving out of the house.
Tro’vion Young, 5, Fantasia Young, 4 and Selena Young, 3, were killed.
Young said her 8-year-old son, Jalen Young, and 11-year-old son, Tywon Young, and 9-year-old son escaped the fire along with their 4-month-old sister, Serena Young.
Serena and Jalen Young had been recovering in Children’s Hospital in Detroit, but have seen been discharged.
Tywon Young was not injured.
The mother of those children, Sylvia Young, returned to the burned home Wednesday.
“My babies always stuck with me and now I got to be alone. I never got a chance to see my babies and say bye,” Sylvia Young said. “I seen my the house and my kids go up in smoke and I can never touch my babies again.”
Young expressed utter devastation at what happened. She said she was at the store trying to buy space heaters when the fire broke out.
She said a space heater given to the family by the landlord’s handyman had been giving off sparks.
“My daughter, my son I saw them trying to resuscitate her,” she said. “My son they found him in the back yard — on the ground.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Neighbors told Local 4 they heard the oldest siblings screaming for help and that they dropped their 4-month-old sister out a second-story window before jumping themselves to escape the fire.
Jarmar Taylor, one of at least two neighbors who caught the survivors, said he heard the children scream before they leaped for their lives from the intense flames and thick, choking smoke.
“The kids were in the window screaming and hollering. We told them to jump,” Taylor, 18, said.
The landlord declined to go on camera with Local 4 but called the fire a tragedy.
The landlord told Local 4 Wednesday evening the handyman went to the home to repair a broken door. He then reportedly cut the padlocks that had been placed on the electric meter and hooked up the power to help the family, giving the mother an old space heater.
“I didn’t know I was leaving my children in danger or I would never have left,” Sylvia Young said.
Three tall, glass-encased candles burned Wednesday on the concrete front steps, as one woman walked up to the house, arms filled with stuffed animals to add to the makeshift memorial.
“If you got children, take care of your children. Love them all,” the children’s mother said. “You never know when they might just be gone.”
Meanwhile, a group called the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization will hold a protest outside DTE Energy headquarters in Downtown Detroit.