SANILAC COUNTY (WJRT) - (12/18/17) - With just a week before Christmas a Sanilac County family is dealing with an incredible loss.
A 3-year-old boy died in a house fire early Monday morning.
The trailer home sits in the 300 block of West Snover Road in Custer Township, just north of Sandusky.
The 29-year-old father woke up shortly after 1 a.m.
"The father recalled waking up to a weird smell," said Sanilac County Sheriff Garry Biniecki.
The father found the fire in the kitchen and dining room area. The dad and 25-year-old mom were forced to go outside to try and reach their boys.
"Went out one of the back doors and broke a window out. He was actually able to reach in the bedroom window and pull the youngest one out," said Todd Hillman, chief of the Sandusky Community Fire Department.
The 1-year-old boy was taken to Hurley Medical Center for his injuries. Firefighters weren't sure of his exact injuries, but believe he breathed in too much smoke.
Hillman said after rescuing the youngest son, the father then tried to get to his 3-year-old who was in the same bedroom.
"The smoke and fire that was going on it was way to involved for him to get back in there," Hillman said.
When the Sandusky Community Fire Department arrived the flames had grown.
"The structure itself was fully involved. We had fire out of all the windows. And actually the roof was starting to collapse when we first got here," Hillman said.
Firefighters later found the 3-year-old in the bedroom. An autopsy will be done to determine how he died.
It's a heartbreaking loss just before Christmas, a time when many families celebrate time together.
"And yet it's at this very same time that, that tragedy strikes and reminds us how fragile life really is," Biniecki said.
The father was also taken to Hurley Medical Center for treatment. Firefighters said he breathed in too much smoke and had burns, some on his stomach.
The mother was treated at nearby McKenzie Hospital and released.
When fire investigators left the scene Monday afternoon they had not figured out the cause. They said they need to do a couple of interviews before sharing more information.
It's also not been determined if the home had working smoke detectors. The sheriff said either way this should be a reminder for other families to check the batteries in their smoke detectors.
"It seems like it's one of the last things we get around to, but yet it's the first thing we depend on. They truly are a lifeline, so I'd like to remind everybody out of this tragedy let's try and do some good, replace them batteries, make sure they're working," Biniecki said.