Building collapses in vacant Detroit storefront fire

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

A vacant building housing three former storefronts collapsed Wednesday in a fire on Detroit’s west side, officials said.

The fire was reported around 10:15 a.m. at Michigan and Martin, near Livernois, officials said. Several crews responded and EMS was standing by.

“There was heavy fire when they arrived, so they went defensive,” Deputy Commissioner Dave Fornell said of a tactic of fighting fires from the outside. “The front of the building collapsed onto the sidewalk and the roof has collapsed so they’re still working. They’re going to be there for quite a while.”

No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire remained unclear.

“They can’t even get in there,” Fornell said around 11:30 a.m. “It will be under investigation when they get the fire out.”

This is one of at least two commercial building fires that sparked Wednesday morning, with crews also responding to a fire at another structure just west of downtown Detroit. That fire was extinguished by late morning.

Officials do not believe the fires are connected, Fornell said.

“This does not seem like a lead up to Angel’s Night,” he said, referring to the night before Halloween, once notorious for arson fires. “We get eight to 10 fires a day, some days more, some days less. We don’t see any connection with these fires at all.”

The department remains on the look-out for suspicious fires, he said.

“If there were a bunch of fires in a certain area or if it looked like there was a serial arsonist, that would be something different,” Fornell said. “But at this point there is no particular pattern.”

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