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Highland Park family of 5 loses everything in house fire

Highland Park family of 5 loses everything in house fire
Posted at 5:45 PM, Jan 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-10 17:45:17-05

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — Sharon Mayhawk and her husband Brandon Lightsey had to jump out of a second-floor window of their home in Highland Park after a fire on New Year’s Day ripped through their home.

“I yelled for my wife to start tossing the children out the window, 5-year-old first, 3-year-old, one-year-old,” said Brandon Lightsey.

Their three kids were not physically hurt, but on Wednesday, Mayhawk shared that they are mentally traumatized.

“My kids struggle to sleep at night because of this," said Mayhawk. "Everything that they watch, anytime that they see a fire, it triggers them.”

Mayhawk and Lightsey are also calling out the Detroit Fire Department.

They say DFD was first on the scene but they left before the fire was fully extinguished.

“We noticed there was no urgency to put out the fire,” Lightsey added.

Minutes after DFD left, Highland Park firefighters arrived at the house on Tuxedo Street.

Highland Park Fire Chief Erik Hallowell says they think if DFD would’ve stayed longer, the family’s house could’ve been saved.

“Times like that you just do your job, you put the politics, attitudes, you put that to the side,” said Hallowell.

On Monday, Chief Hallowell expressed his concerns about the way DFD handled things with Detroit Fire Commissioner Charles Simms.

“The good thing is that we scheduled a meeting, had a meeting… moving forward, we’ll work together with Highland Park,” said Commissioner Simms.

Chief Hallowell added that, usually, DFD would wait for Highland Park firefighters to ask for help before assisting them but moving forward that will change.

“We’re firefighters, I don’t care if it’s on this street or that street, you put the fire out then we fight after about whose territory it is,” Chief Hallowell added.

As for the Mayhawk-Lightsey family, they are taking it day by day as they go through this difficult time in their lives.

“I have my husband, I have my kids so I’ll be fine,” said Mayhawk.

The cause of the house fire is still under investigation.

The Mayhawk-Lightsey family has set up a GoFundMeaccount.