A fatal fire in Hartland Township is under investigation.

The Hartland Deerfield Fire Authority was dispatched around 3:43am Tuesday to a structure fire with reports of an occupant being trapped in the 5000 block of Tipsico Lake Road. Upon arrival, Fire Chief Adam Carroll says about 75% of the structure was completely involved in fire and the remaining 25% was heavily charged with smoke, noting conditions and temperatures were well above survivable. He says crews went to work trying to locate the victim and eventually did. Crews further protected the area for the ensuing investigation, which is being conducted by both Michigan State police and the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Carroll says that is pretty standard protocol with a fire fatality and nothing really unusual.

Carroll says there was a lot of fire and it took a while to get it contained. Crews were on scene for about six hours and were able to protect exposure to another home on the property. The structure that burned was a studio-type apartment and is considered a total loss. It was located near a main home on the property, and two individuals in that residence were able to make it out safely. Carroll says recognizing and getting fire departments notified of fires as early as possible is important because they grow so fast and the earlier head start they can get, generally the better the outcome. He says they certainly didn’t get the outcome they wanted but based on the amount of fire upon arrival, crews did the best they could with what they had to work with, which is what they face sometimes. Carroll says it was a long night for everybody and difficult, but they did the best they could for the victim.

Michigan State Police Lieutenant Jeremy Brewer with the Brighton Post identified the victim only as a white male in his mid-20’s, pending notification of family. There have been reports that the victim was a transgender woman who was new to the area and had moved here from North Carolina. Lt. Brewer says early investigative reports indicate no signs of foul play but noted the investigation is just beginning. (JM)