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Community stunned by stabbing, runious blaze

August 25, 2010 - Richard Darrin saw movement in the woods ahead. A woman, lying on the ground, raised her arm in the air.

A firefighter works to control the blaze at Rangi's home Sunday. (click for larger version)
"I think she was trying to get someone's attention," said Darrin, who alerted firefighters Sunday after he found Rosemary Rangi, covered in soot and suffering from multiple stab wounds, behind her Orion Township home.

"At first I thought it was a person taking pictures," he said. "She was laying on her stomach, but I think she sensed me, because she rolled over and I could see she was very pale and covered in blood."

Darrin said he immediately ran to summon help from firefighters battling the huge blaze just a few dozen yards away.

Rangi, 56, Orion Area Chamber of Commerce president and Director of Crittenton Medical Equipment in Lake Orion and Rochester, told emergency responders her husband stabbed her, then set the home ablaze.

Daljit Singh Rangi, 65, was discovered inside a Cadillac CTS inside the garage. An autopsy Monday revealed he died from smoke and soot inhalation.

Authorities said Darrin likely played a significant role in saving Rosemary Rangi's life. Darrin, who lives on Waldon Ct., said he was unaware of the fire until his daughter came in the house and mentioned the smoke.

"I said, 'I'm going to take a closer look,'" he explained, noting he cut across several acres and went in a direction he wouldn't normally travel. "Something led me right to her."

Darrin, who's lived in the area 31 years said the Rangi's home was built about 15 years ago, and to his knowledge, they are the only residents the home has ever known.

The incident, he said, was a shock.

"At the time all I could think about was getting help for her," Darrin noted. "I still can't quit thinking about it"

Chamber Director Alaina Campbell said they've had very little news in the office about Rosemary Rangi's condition.

"We did get an email today that said she's no longer in the ICU, and she's doing better," Campbell said. So that's positive. It's a good thing."

Orion Township Fire Chief Jeff Key said it was lucky Darrin spotted Rangi when he did.

Although responders asked whether anyone knew of people in the home when they arrived, the focus was on controlling the blaze.

"In that particular situation we wouldn't have been looking for someone out in the woods," Key said. "It was a very, very bizarre situation."

In addition to the circumstances, he noted, the home's secluded location about half-mile off the 300 block of Greenshield on Trout Creek Lane meant it took awhile for anyone to notice and report the blaze.

The home burned to the ground, a situation Key said his firefighters don't see very often.

"My understanding is the roof was collapsing as our guys were arriving on the scene," he said. "So it was burning for some amount of time before we were notified. Once the fire reaches a certain size, there's very little you can do."

But Michael Mannino, who was at the Home Depot on M-24 when he saw the smoke, said he didn't think the blaze was going long at all.

It was the smoke, he explained, that drew him to the scene.

"Black, black smoke," said Mannino, a Lake Orion-based builder who owns American Craftsman Homes. "Black smoke means shingles are burning. I told my friend 'That's not good, lets go check it out.'"

Mannino said they got as close as possible, then ran through some woods toward the scene.

"We tried to assist as much as we could," he said. "It was extremely hot." The house, he noted was still standing when they arrived, but had collapsed before they left 30 minutes later.

The sight of the wounded woman was something he said he will never forget, said Mannino, who encountered Rangi after the first man alerted firefighters and paramedics of her presence.

"I've worked in Detroit. I never expected to see something like that in Lake Orion," he said. "It was a sad sight to see a husband try to murder his wife. I'm glad she survived."

According to Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe, Rosemary Rangi's husband, Daljit Rangi, was retired from the State of Michigan, where he worked in the Fiscal Services section.

He had no criminal history, McCabe said, and investigators had no indication drugs or alcohol were involved. Rumors of a pending divorce, however, were swirling in days following the incident.

"Obviously they weren't getting along, because they were talking about getting divorced," McCabe said. "I'm told papers were going to be served this week."

Noting he hadn't received confirmation about divorce proceedings, McCabe said Rosemary Rangi told police her husband came after her without warning.

"There was no argument, nothing," he said. "It was out of the clear blue. She was stabbed more than ten times with what we think was a steak knife, but we haven't recovered it. It's a massive job. Everything collapsed into the basement."

Daljit Rangi's death was ruled a suicide. The entire incident remains under investigation.

A fund has been established at Genisys Credit Union to assist Rosemary Rangi with immediate expenses. Those who wish to contribute can walk into any branch and inform the teller they'd like to donate to the Rosemary Rangi Benefit Fund.

A fund has been established at Genisys Credit Union to assist Rosemary Rangi with immediate expenses. Those who wish to contribute can walk into any branch and inform the teller they'd like to donate to the Rosemary Rangi Benefit Fund.

Lake Orion Review Editor
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