Fire forces Northville Montessori to find new space

Derek Draplin
The Detroit News

Plymouth — A fire destroyed classrooms at a Montessori school Tuesday, leaving administrators scrambling for a place to hold classes for preschool and elementary students.

Keith Gall, who heads the Northville Montessori Center founded by his mother, Lynn, in 1976, called the building a total loss.

“I think the whole building will come down,” said Northville Township Fire Chief Rich Marinucci.

In an email to The Detroit News, Gall said: “We are working quickly to locate a space for our students. We hope to secure a site within 24-48 hours, but this must be a site sanctioned by the state.”

The private school has about 65 students from preschool through eighth grade. State fire marshal officials “want to make sure the school opens up within regulations and give guidance on what they can and can’t do,” Marinucci said.

“We’ve had some generous offers, but they just aren’t going to be approved,” Gall added.

Within hours of the devastating fire, an online fundraiser was started at; more than $9,000 toward a $50,000 goal was pledged by Tuesday night.

No one was in the red brick schoolhouse, on Haggerty between Five Mile and Six Mile, when the fire was discovered around 6 a.m.

Officials said the weather made the fire harder to handle and inhibited efforts to determine its cause.

The school moved to its present 5.3-acre site in 1982.