Royal Oak home destroyed in fire, neighbors save family dog - | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Royal Oak home destroyed in fire, neighbors save family dog

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ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WJBK) - Fire crews battled a house fire in Royal Oak Tuesday afternoon on Mandalay Avenue near 14 Mile Road.

Fox 2 is told a downed power line started the fire but fire crews had to wait to enter the property until DTE Energy shut off the electricity to the home.

Jeremy and Ellen Shulty got the dreadful call while they were at work. They raced to home not knowing just how bad it was.

"I'm like, everybody get out of my way, my house on fire. And then you pull up and it's, it's your life. All your photos - we don't have a change of clothes. All the stuff that we built together we have to start all over," says Ellen.

Neighbors say the fire started around 2:30 p.m. Video in Fox 2's Taryn Asher's report appears to show the crackling wire the moment after it fell onto the back porch.

Patrick Dutcher and his brother Timothy were stunned by what they saw but knew they had to think fast. The Shulty's dog was still inside and the fire was quickly spreading.

"We decided to say screw it, the dogs inside. We kicked the door down. I in ran inside, grabbed the dog and as that happened the house was engulfed in flames," says Patrick.

"We picked him up, and you could feel the heart on our back as we were leaving," says Timothy.

It's good they got out when they did. Moments later, the Royal Oak fire department showed up. By then, the lieutenant says the house was fully charged and the flames were even too dangerous for firefighters to fight.

They had to call to cut the source of the power.

"They came from an office in Redford, so it takes them a bit to get here. Initially, they could not find the source where it was energized from in order so shut it down, so it took them quite a bit of time to get power shut off," says Royal Oak fire Lt. Kevin Sutton. He says, meanwhile, they were essentially just watching the house burn which he says is the "biggest frustration."

We've learned from the time DTE was called to the time they arrived and secured the scene shutting off power, about an hour and a half had passed.

By that time, firefighters were only able to help put out the flames on what was left of the charred structure.

DTE spokesperson Erica Donerson says what happened is under investigation but whenever someone loses a home it is a tragedy. Securing a scene and making sure it is safe are top priorities and that's what crews did as quickly as they could.

But for the Shulty's, to them it wasn't fast enough.

"Definitely need to have an investigation, find out what's going on. If the power lines weren't maintained properly or what," says Jeremy.

About 500 people lost power around the time after the fire but Asher reports it has been restored.
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