DETROIT, MI – A Detroit apartment complex was the scene of a frightening incident as two young girls had to jump from the fifth story to escape a fire, reportedly ignited by their mother’s ex-partner.
Security video captured the tense moments, showing neighbors hastily arranging a mattress on the sidewalk to cushion the girls’ fall. The eight-year-old girl was the first to make the leap, landing safely in the arms of the assembled crowd. She then tossed clothes onto the mattress to soften the landing for her mother and older sister still trapped in the burning apartment.
The older sister, aged 14, jumped next, suffering broken ankles and a wrist due to the impact. Despite her injuries, she is anticipated to make a full recovery.
Firefighters were able to rescue the girls’ mother using a ladder. The suspected arsonist, 43-year-old Marion Scruggs, is the woman’s former boyfriend. Inside security cameras seem to show a man, presumed to be Scruggs, dousing the apartment door with gasoline before igniting it with a cigarette.
Scruggs was arrested within 24 hours of the incident. He has a past marked by domestic violence charges and a 2019 arson charge where he was accused of intentionally setting a former girlfriend’s house on fire, resulting in the death of one of her pets. It is unclear if the same woman was involved in both incidents.
Scruggs is currently detained on charges of first-degree home invasion, first-degree arson, and assault with intent to murder. His bail is set at $1 million, and he is due in court on Wednesday.
City officials are now on a mission to identify the brave neighbors who helped the girls, with plans to honor their heroic actions.