A Warren woman rescued by firefighters from her burning home remained in critical condition Monday afternoon.
As Warren firefighters arrived at the ranch-style home Sunday morning on Dale Avenue, near Hoover and 11 Mile roads, police told them that family members said 38-year-old Jennifer Kasinski was still in the basement where she had living quarters.
“The family couldn’t get to her because smoke and heat was coming up the stairs,” Warren Deputy Fire Chief Gary Wilkinson said.
As one crew battled the flames in the basement amid thick, dark smoke, another searched for the woman and found her unconscious on the floor. She was not breathing and had no pulse when paramedics checked her moments after she was carried up the stairs by two firefighters.
“They had their hands full (but) they found her pretty quick,” Wilkinson said.
By the time Kasinski arrived at St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren, she had a pulse and was breathing again. She was in critical condition and later transferred to Detroit Receiving Hospital for treatment of severe smoke inhalation.
Her relatives were coughing after escaping the home and sought medical treatment on their own. No firefighters were injured in the incident.
Kasinski resided in the home with her mother, stepfather and 19-year-old son. Her family members were asleep on the main floor of the house but were awakened by a smoke alarm at approximately 7 a.m. A smoke alarm in the basement had a battery but did not function properly, leading fire officials to believe that’s why the woman was unable to escape on her own.
The basement was set up with a bedroom, small kitchen and a bathroom.
Fire investigators do not suspect foul play in the incident. Officials believe the blaze started in a storage cabinet that concealed a power strip with several plugs connected to it, Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson praised firefighters for their life-saving efforts Sunday.
“The impressive part to me was they got her out so fast,” he said.
The deputy chief said firefighters searching a smoke-filled structure for victims –- often in little or no visibility — are trained to move along, and stay in contact with, walls to avoid becoming disorientated while trying to find a person on the floor. Sometimes, firefighters will extend their reach by using their feet to stay in contact with walls and using an axe or other tools to sweep along a floor to find anyone, he said.