Wayne, MI Townhouse Fire, Oct 1975
Tuesday 28 October 1975, Hickory Hollow Townhouse Co-Op, 5056 Hamilton Drive. At 7:12 AM on this day, Wayne Fire Department houseman Rick Goodlow received a call from Richard Story a resident of Hickory Hollow, reporting a working fire in a townhouse at 5650 Hamilton. Story a Volunteer Fire Fighter with the Mutual Aid Fire Squad of Michigan, responded to the above address and entered the townhouse by the front east door to check the interior of the townhouse for anyone trapped in side. Story encountered heavy fire conditions and backed out. Story than went to the townhouses on either side and evacuated the residents. Story than went to the rear west side of the townhouse and found Donald Olson age 25 the resident of the townhouse, Olson had a broken leg , burns on this hands and arms and had jumped from a second story window. Olson said to Story" My Wife and Kids are in there get them out", Story left the man with a resident who was standing by. Story went back and entered the building from the east side for a second time, to find fire conditions worst. Story than stood by for the Wayne Fire Department to arrive, Engine-201 with Lt Owen McGill and Goodlow arrived, Story advised McGill of the conditions, McGill directed fire fighter Greg Green and Wayne Bennett to care for Mr Olson who was transported by Rescue-203 to Wayne County General Hospital. Lt McGill advised Goodlow to establish a water supply and advised Story to come with him and they would attempt a rescue. the 2 fire fighters got into the living room area to the stairway leading to the second floor and found very heavy fire conditions and the stairway burnt through. The 2 fire fighters backed and an exterior attack was started. Mutual Aid was called from the City of westland Fire Department, The City of Romulus Fire Department and the Mutual Aid Fire Squad. . Story was advised to set up a ground ladder on the east side and take a 1 1/2 inch line to the second floor and fight the fire through the window. Wayne Police Officers Ralph Cowell and Marty Bovarist had assisted Goodlow with the water supply and were manning a 1 1/2 inch line from the ground on the fire. Westland Fire Fighters arrived and took over the hand line from the police officers. Romulus and Mutual Aid Fire Squad fire fighters arrived and assisted with fire fighting. Once the fire was under control and fire fighters could enter the townhouse. they found the following. Sharson Olson age 25 the mother and resident of the townhouse, Cheryl Olson Age-4 her daughter and Pat Olson 4 months a daughter all DOA from the fire. Sharon was found in the east bedroom under the window attempting to exit the room, Cheryl was found in the west bedroom in a crib and Pat Olson was located on the first floor in the living room in a baby swing. Wayne Fire Chief Ken Warfield Fire Marshal Neil Pierskorn and Wayne Police Detective Bill Withworth investigated the cause of the fire assisted by Michigan State Police Detective Hugh Mosher, the team determined the cause of the fire was arson. Donald Olson told police he had called and reported a person in the complex for selling drugs and thought there person set the fire. Investigators believe Olson himself may have set the fire but could not prove that and Olson was never arrested Volunteer Fighter Story received 2 degree burns on his cheek and neck when a shutter fell on him as he fought the fire , he was treated and released from the Doctor.