Apparent Heidelberg arsonist caught on camera

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Detroit — A hooded arsonist was caught on camera last month setting fire to the Heidelberg Project's "Taxi House."

Officials with the art installation Wednesday released security camera footage from the Nov. 23 blaze that shows an individual, wearing a black hoodie, approach the back of the structure. After a few seconds, a burst of flame appears to engulf the individual, who flees the property.

In a statement released with the footage, Heidelberg Project organizers said "the footage ... shows that the culprit may have suffered severe burns to his/her face and upper body after the accelerant exploded upon ignition."

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is reviewing all recordings. Any enhancements or analysis "will take time," according to the Heidelberg Project.

The Detroit Fire Department responded to the house on Mount Elliott just after 7 a.m. Nov. 23. It is the 12th Heidelberg home to be hit by fire in the past 18 months.

The "Taxi House" was damaged but not destroyed "despite its age and primarily wooden construction," according to a statement from the Heidelberg Project put out on social media.

The "Taxi House" now joins a list of other creations at the city street-turned-art installation that have been destroyed or damaged by fire, including the House of Soul, Clock House, War House, Penny House, Numbers House, Obstruction of Justice House and the Party Animal House.

"These guys (firefighters) are truly Detroit's finest," artist and founder Tyree Guyton said in the release. "They work hard to help protect the Heidelberg Project in the face of grave danger. They have my utmost respect."

Anyone with information about the latest fire is asked to call the Detroit Fire and Arson Tip Line at (313) 628-2900. There is a $15,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and/or conviction.

(313) 223-4616