(FLINT, MI) The mother of two young boys who died in a house fire is pushing for an independent investigation claiming that first responders failed to properly search the burning home for survivors.
The incident occurred on May 28th at a two-story home on West Pulaski Street.
According to the report, a fire started at the home due to faulty electrical wiring. Firefighters Daniel Sniegocki and Michael Zlotek who were on call that evening, allegedly went into the home and gave an all-clear despite not checking the upstairs area. Six minutes after the all-clear was given, two other firefighters went upstairs and found the 12-year-old and the 9-year-old alive and under some debris.
The two children were taken to an area hospital where they eventually died due to the effects of smoke inhalation.
An investigation conducted by Flint Fire Department Chief Raymond Barton determined “the actions or lack of action possibly contributed to the loss of life of two victims.”
Despite the findings, neither of the firefighters was fired:
Sneigocki resigned from his position and Zlotek was put on an unpaid two-week suspension with additional training after the story went public.
In a press conference Friday Attorney Robert Kenner, who is representing the boy’s mother, accused the state of covering up the incident:
“The mayor is in a hotly contested race right now and made the decision not to terminate based on political reasons,” Kenner claimed. “He’s tied to the fire union and didn’t want to upset the union or other constituents.”
Flint Firefighters Local 352 spoke to reporters stating that the firefighters involved are being blamed because they failed to search a small room in extreme heat and low visibility.
“There was an investigation by Chief Raymond Barton and what he found, was that two firemen — Daniel Sniegocki and Michael Zlotek — fabricated and lied on a report and said that they checked the room,” Kenner said. “Based on what they said, the chief did his own investigation and what was uncovered was they couldn’t have checked the room, they didn’t even mention anything about a bed, the location of the bed, the location of items.”
Kenner has since filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of the family:
“No parent should ever have to go through this,” the attorney added. “No parent. So, what we’re calling for, we’re calling for a thorough investigation, an earnest investigation, no cover-ups, no change in documents. We’re calling for the truth.”
The boys’ mother, Crystal Cooper spoke at the press conference saying:
“Only if I could just give six minutes, my babies would still be here with me. I just want justice for them. They didn’t deserve this. Every day is a struggle knowing that I won’t see them anymore.”