08-01-2018 Police & Fire

Police and Fire Reports By Annette Christie Tragic fire claims mother and five children On July 28, 2018 at approximately 1:45 a.m., the Berrien County Central Dispatch Office received a 911 call of a fire at the Cosmo Extended Living Hotel, located at 2699 S. M-139 Hwy., located in Sodus Township. When the first responders arrived at the scene, they came upon a structure filled with flames and smoke. The first responders began to evacuate the building and the fire was being extinguished by the fire department personnel. At the time of the incident, 27 rooms were occupied at this extended living facility. Several individuals were transported to Lakeland Medical Center. Sadly, six individuals died as a result of the incident including a 26-year-old female and her five children ages two through ten. They were identified as the mother Kiarre Curtis, and her children Marquise Thompson (10), Gerome Randolph (7), Samuel Curtis (5), Savod Curtis (4), and Avery Curtis (2). Samuel Curtis, 36 (her husband) and their one-year-old child were able to escape from the hotel. They were treated and released for possible smoke inhalation from Lakeland Medical Center. Four other individuals and four first responders were treated and released at Lakeland Medical Center for smoke inhalation. Autopsies were performed on all six victims at the Western Michigan University Stryker School of Medicine. The autopsies confirmed that they all died as a result of smoke inhalation. The Michigan State Police Fire Marshall Division is assisting the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office in determining the cause and origin of the fire. The preliminary results did not reveal the presence of any accelerants or illegal narcotic manufacturing. Further forensic testing will be conducted on samples taken from room #135, on the first floor of the hotel where the investigators have determined the origin of the fire to have started. Preliminary findings indicate that it was accidental. The victims of this tragic incident were not residing in the room where the cause and origin indicates the fire had started. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office also contracted with a private security company out of the Grand Rapids area to test the fire alarm & smoke detector system of this hotel. A preliminary investigation estimates that approximately 90% of the rooms at this location have sustained smoke, fire, or water damage. The American Red Cross is working on finding shelter for the displaced individuals. A Go Fund Me campaign has begun to assist the Curtis family with expenses. To find the donation site go to www.gofundme.com/curtis-family-tragedy. Multiple agencies responded and assisted with the incident including: Sodus Township Fire Department, Benton Township Fire Department, Royalton Township Fire Department, Lincoln Township Fire Department, Medic 1 Ambulance Service, Pride Care Ambulance Service, SMACAS Ambulance Service, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, St. Joseph Department of Public Safety, Benton Township Police Department, Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety, and the American Red Cross.

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