Chesterfield Township family loses everything after fireworks cause house fire

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Posted at 3:08 PM, Jul 05, 2024

CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — A family in Chesterfield Township is thankful to be alive after flames tore through their home on Thursday night, all because of fireworks.

The fire chief said fireworks being set off close to the home appear to be the cause of what happened.

Neighbor Justin Butterworth saw the whole thing happen.

“I just saw fire and I ran," Butterworth said.

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He told us he knew it was up to him and others to pull the family and their pets to safety as their home caught on fire on Fairwood Dr.

“Tried to get as much as we could done, in the short amount of time to get everyone to safety," Butterworth said.

He said despite everyone in the family being rescued, there remains a sense of empathy for them losing everything, including a vehicle.

I reached out to the homeowner, James Johnson, by phone on Friday, but he and his family were not ready to do an interview.

However, they shared photos of the family with me, as fire investigators take questions about timing over the Fourth of July holiday.

“We did determine fireworks were probably a factor in causing this fire," Chesterfield Township Fire Chief Craig Miller said. “We also had a firefighter injured with heat exhaustion. Transported and treated at the hospital.”

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“These tragedies highlight danger with having fireworks and with celebrations and we have to be cautious," Public Safety Director Brian Bassett said.

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“The average home like this, you have three minutes to escape if a fire breaks out. That’s all," Miller said.

“It was just scary. The whole family, but all the neighbors came together. Everyone was out here helping," Butterworth said.

The Johnson family is accepting donations to get back on their feet. The GoFundMe is here.

In Detroit, investigators are also looking into the cause of two other vacant homes that burned on Thursday night.