Canton Township, MI House Fire Takes 7 Lives, Dec 1990

December 22 1990 at 11 PM Canton Township Fire Department received a call of a baby not breathing at 43765 Proctor Road , this was followed by a report of a dwelling fire at the same location. In route to the fire , fire fighters received from the dispatcher reports of children trapped in the house fire. Rescue 1103 arrived and reported a Condition Red with smoke and flames coming out of the north and south and east sides of the house with heavy smoke in the attached garage and fire through the roof. Fire Fighters entered the front door of the dwelling with a 1 3/4 inch hand line, the two fire fighters were forced out of the dwelling by the heat and smoke. A second line was placed in service which had little effect on the fire. The fire department than stretched two more 1 3/4 inch hand lines to attack the fire, the bystanders were advising the fire fighters the Father and 7 children were trapped in the house. Martin Dell'Orco age 38 entered the dwelling to rescue 7 of his 9 children trapped in the fire to return with none, when fire fighters arrived they attempted to stop the Father from going back in the home, but could not restrain him.,his body was found in the bed room of the home and the bodies of his children were found in the home the children Megan age-5 , Michael age-5, Katie age-6,Sara age 9 and Bonnie age 12 were all found in bedrooms, Debbie Dell'Orco age 36 attempted to rescue her husband after she and 6 year old Adam escaped the flames, two children Kelly age 14 and Jim age 16 were not home at the time of the fire. Police restrained Debbie after she attempted to enter the burning dwelling twice Debbie fought with police as they attempted to place her in a patrol with her feet up against the car. Debbie stated she was in the master bedroom wrapping Christmas Presents when she heard a crash and than her husband say don't touch it, Debbie found the Christmas Tree in flames in the family room. Debbie called 911 from the Kitchen stating my babies are burning. as Martin was attempting to take the tree out a sliding door. Debbie made a second 911 call and stated I need help the dispatcher asked what was going on Debbie stated 437 and hung up . Martin Debbie and Adam all got out of the house safe. Fire Fighter Tom Battistone was treated for minor burns. Investigation found a bulb on the Christmas tree started the fire. Canton Fire Marshal Art Winkel and Chief Paulum assisted by Canton Police officer Roert Kerr conducted the investigation