Fire out, road re-opens after hours-long firefighting effort in Dearborn

Dearborn — Tightly packed pallets of paper products, water bottles and candy and a roof collapse made a fire at a warehouse on Dearborn's east side difficult to fight, authorities said Thursday, explaining the 17-hour firefighting effort that began on Christmas Day.

Firefights were on the scene from Wednesday night to Thursday afternoon, fighting a "defensive fire," where they could only spray water from outside of the building for safety reasons due to the collapse of the warehouse roof, said Dearborn Battalion Chief David Lambrix on Thursday evening.

Chase road was shut down at 9 a.m. Thursday while firefighters continued battling the blaze, Lambrix said. The area affected by the fire covered about a half-mile on Chase, from Warren to the north to Henn to the south.

The origins of the fire are unknown, Lambrix said. The packed warehouse made the blaze  difficult to put out. 

Adding to the difficulty of fighting the fire was the fact that the roof of the warehouse fell in, Lambrix said.

"It made it impossible for water to penetrate ... so it just took time (to put the fire out)," Lambrix said.

As a result of the roof collapse, crews were not able to enter the building, and firefighters had to treat the incident as a defensive fire, only spraying water from outside the building for safety reasons, Lambrix said.

The fire, Lambrix said, was out by early morning Thursday, but firefighters remained on the scene until 3 p.m. fighting hot spots.

"(The scene has) been made safe, so citizens can't just get inside there and get hurt," Lambrix said.