Canton Township, MI House Fire, May 1973
May 1973 at 105 AM Canton Fire Department was called to a house fire at 44139 Arlington. Canton Fire Department was a new fire department starting in 1971 with 12 full time fire fighters from a volunteer fire department, on this night 5 fire fighters were on duty, 4 responded to the fire and one remained in the station as the dispatcher, who contacted the Wayne County Sheriff Department of the fire and called in off duty fire fighters.
Fire Fighters arrived to find a Condition Red fire, and to find Ronald Brandon who lived across the street attempting to enter the house to rescue the trapped family. Canton Fire Fighter Sgt. Kenneth Witt with a SCBA entered the dwelling to rescue the four trapped family members, Whitt was over come by smoke and transported to Wayne County General Hospital where he was in intensive care. Brandon who had broke down the front door to be driven back by the flames, begged the fire fighters to allow him to return to the interior of the house to rescue the family, Brandon hindered the fire department as they attempted to work. Once the fire was under control fire fighters found James Burnham age 26, Sara Burnham 26 and there two sons Matt 4 and Steve 2 dead in the rear of the house. Fire Chief Melvin Paulum and the Michigan State Police Fire Marshal conducted an investigation in to the cause of the fire and found the fire was started by a candle left burning when the family went to sleep. The residents in the area were critical of the fire department and a committed was established to investigate the fire department. The Committee was made up of Retired Wayne Fire Chief Hank Goudy a 42 year veteran of the fire department, Eldon Johnson an attorney Dale Orth a Wayne County Sheriff Deputy.