Retired maintenance worker accidentally dies the same way grandfather did years ago

Posted at 6:11 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 18:11:16-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Mike Haughton loved to work, but a couple years ago, health issues forced the 69-year-old Detroit man to retire from the job he had for over 30 years, working in maintenance at Comerica Bank.

"Mike was indescribable. Mike was good-hearted. He was helpful. He never turned anybody down," his cousin Lisa Cox said as she stood near the charred exterior and broken windows of the home where Mike lived since 1969 on Marlowe Steet near 7 Mile Road on the city's west side.

Cox was among at least a dozen relatives who stood by in disbelief as Detroit firefighters wrapped up their gear after extinguishing a blaze that swept through the house around 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Mike's two brothers and a cousin who also lived in the home were able to escape the burning home and tried desperately to save Mike.

Firefighters found Mike's body in a back room where relatives said he used a space heater to supplement the heat in his area of the home because his health issues often left him feeling cold.

Mike had a bad heart and suffered several strokes, according to loved ones.

Investigator are trying to determine what sparked the fire and have not ruled out that it may have involved that space heater.

The house is located just a couple blocks away from the home where Mike's grandfather died in a house fire over 20 years ago.

Careless cooking, careless smoking and space heaters are the leading causes of house fires in the city of Detroit.

It's believed a smoke detector is what alerted Mike's relatives to the fire.

Smoke detectors are available at no cost to Detroit residents. You can visit Detroit Public Safety Headquarters at 1301 3rd Avenue, Suite 330, Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information, visit the city's website or email

Mike Haughton would have celebrated his 70th birthday on May 2.