Fire damages room near Pontiac Silverdome press box

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

A room near the Pontiac Silverdome press box was “significantly damaged” during an overnight fire, according to the Waterford Regional Fire Department.

“Our crews got a call around 7:20 a.m. for a report of a building fire,” Deputy Fire Chief Matt Covey said. “Upon arrival, they made entry to the Silverdome and discovered a fire that had been burning throughout the night.”

Crews quickly extinguished the flames at the stadium on Featherstone Road. It left behind extensive damage to the already decaying building.

“I’m sure it was a significant fire at some point in time but it had run out of combustibles (by Tuesday morning),” Covey said. “It was starting to burn out.”

No injuries were reported, Covey said.

The blaze was reported by a security guard during his morning check of the area. The cause remains under investigation.

It was the first fire reported at the Silverdome since the Waterford Regional Fire Department took over coverage of the area in 2012, Covey said.

Built in 1975 with $55.7 million in Pontiac taxpayers’ money, the venue once served as home to the Lions, Pistons, countless entertainment performances and a Mass celebrated by now-Saint Pope John Paul II.

In 2002, the Lions paid the city $26 million to break its contract and move to the newly built Ford Field in downtown Detroit.

The Silverdome quickly descended into decline, though it sporadically hosted sporting and other events. Through the years, the city rejected offers as high as $18.5 million for the stadium.

Andreas Apostolopoulos of Triple Properties bought the Silverdome in 2009 in an auction for $583,000, which is about 1 percent of its original cost. He was the sole bidder.

In more recent years, the stadium sat empty as its famous inflatable roof collapsed. Items inside the facility have been auctioned off.

There are plans for demolition after the stadium failed to sell for its $30 million asking price last year, according to property broker CBRE.

HFournier@detroitnews.com

(313) 223-4616

@HollyPFournier