LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Damian Shessia was just a month away from turning two years old when the house fire on the 200 block of Cavanaugh Rd. claimed his life Monday.

The one-year-old boy was killed, and his mother and two siblings were injured in a fire that tore through the home.

Lansing Assistant Fire Chief Michael Tobin said it didn’t have to end this way.

“There was nothing activated, no reports from bystanders, from first arriving Lansing police, or any of our first arriving crews had any reports of any audible smoke detectors,” Tobin said. “And we did not find any functioning smoke detectors on the investigation.”

Brian McGrain works for the City of Lansing as the Director of Economic Development and Planning. He said rental units are supposed to be checked for any violations. That would include not having smoke detectors.

“This unfortunately was not a registered rental, which meant our office was not aware of it,” McGrain said. “It is the responsibility of a property owner to register their home with our office so that we can begin a rental registration process.”

He said they traditionally check the house from top to bottom looking for a variety of safety issues. And smoke detectors are a big one, as they’re required in a number of places.

“Again, in this case, we were not at this home. This home was not a registered rental so unfortunately it was one that was not in compliance,” McGrain said.

Now that the flames are out, and the yellow caution tape is gone, the house is red tagged as ‘unsafe to enter’ as the investigation into how it all started continues.

“I would expect a couple more days minimum just to make sure that we do it thoroughly, properly, and have everything in order,” the assistant fire chief said.

And while no one can say for sure the outcome here could have been different, Tobin said he’s never responded to a fatal fire where there was a functioning smoke detector.

“Smoke detectors are critical, they will save your lives,” Tobin said.

6 News reached out to the property owner of the rental home but have not heard back.