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Man in Wheelchair Rescued From House Fire; Driveway Death Ruled Accidental

Here are highlights of incidents reported to West Bloomfield Police from March 8-15.

Police and fire crews worked together to save a West Bloomfield resident who uses a wheelchair from a house fire.

The blaze broke out in a home in the 1500 block of Stauch Drive around 10:40 a.m. Friday, according to the . The wheelchair-bound homeowner heard smoke detectors going off, then found fire and smoke in his kitchen. He called 911 and then tried to escape the home, where he was found by  Officer Scott Snyder within one minute of the call, the fire report stated.

Snyder was credited by Fire Chief Jay Wiseman with assisting the resident from his kitchen, out of his attached garage and to safety. “The quick call to 911, the close proximity of Officer Snyder and the rapid response time of on duty fire crews undoubtedly prevented injury and limited the damage to the home,” Wiseman said.

According to the department, the man was not injured and he was taken to a nearby family member’s home. The man lives with his wife and two daughters, but he was the only one at home at the time of the fire, Fire Inspector Byron Turnquist said.

Fire crews were able to put out the fire quickly in the kitchen, which they said likely was the result of an appliance accident.

"We advise everyone to change the batteries of their smoke detectors when they change their clocks for Daylight Saving Time, and so it's good to see that this man had working smoke detectors," said Turnquist, who reported to the scene. "Station No. 4 being so near to his house also was a big help and led to a fast response time."

Man's death from runaway car ruled an accident

As an update to , West Bloomfield police have concluded that an incident last week in which a West Bloomfield man was fatally run over by his car at his home was an accident.

The March 8 accident happened while the 54-year-old man was unloading groceries from his white Chrysler PT Cruiser while the car was running, Officer Jim Gaery said Tuesday. The man may have thought he had parked the car, but the first responding officer found the car in reverse at the end of the street after receiving a call from a neighbor, he said. 

The driveway at the man’s home on the 2100 block block of Timberridge Drive is on an incline, according to police.

Police said the man was pronounced dead at the scene. “The Medical Examiner’s Office of Oakland County performed an autopsy and determined a multiple blunt force trauma to be the cause of death,” Gaery said. “The car just rolled down the incline of the garage, into the driveway, and this man was unfortunately taken with it.”

After inspecting the vehicle for a possible mechanical malfunction and finding nothing wrong, it is unclear how the car switched gears. Police said they investigated the possibility of foul play and determined the man was alone at the time.

“Our mechanics checked it out and it’s in good working order. It’s still a mystery for us," Gaery said. "Speaking with the family, they told us that he was in a hurry a lot, so we think he may have hit the gear shift on his way out of the car. We’ll never know.” 

The car remains in police custody.

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