DETROIT (WWJ) –Detroit firefighters have contained a massive fire that engulfed a pallet company on the city’s east side.
The fire broke out sometime after 4 a.m. Wednesday at J & G Pallet and Trucking Company at the corner of Beaufait and Sylvester.
Firefighters doused the flames at two different points to keep the fire from spreading across the street. Four hours after the fire broke out, firefighters remained on the scene, quelling hot spots that remained in the wreckage.
Reporting live from the scene, WWJ’s Ron Dewey said giant flames and dense billowing smoke could be seen for miles. Tipsters calling the WWJ Newsroom said they could see the blaze from across the Detroit River at Caesars Casino in Windsor, Ontario.
Joseph Hellman was among the employees who could do nothing but stand and watch as their workplace went up in flames.
“I was driving into work when I got a call that said, you know, its burning down. At first, they said it was just a fire but I wasn’t expecting to see this. It’s crazy,” he said.
Hellman said there was another fire at the company about four or five years ago but it was nothing compared to the fire on Wednesday.
Owner J.D. Givan said the company was celebrating its 20th anniversary this month. He said he woke up to phone calls telling him the family business was burning to the ground. Despite that, Givan said he’s “thankful for God that no one was hurt” in the fire.
It appears the building is a total loss. No injuries were reported.
There was, however, one “casualty” of sorts in the fire, according to David Emmory who lives on the other side of a chain-link fence from the business.
“This was a little garage we had. There was a ’72 Oldsmobile convertible but you can’t see it anymore because its gone, destroyed in the fire,” said Emmory. “There was a bunch of other little stuff in there, you know, that stuff can be replaced, but the car will be a little harder to replace than rakes and brooms.”
Firefighters were able to save Emmory’s house and two other garages that contained classic cruisers.
“They saved my stuff, thank God. There was a couple of projects I was working on. I would have been devastated if they would have got hurt. It was a couple of Mustangs. I got a Chrysler Newport convertible back there too, that’s been in the family for a long time. But it’s okay, they did an awesome job keeping the fire from getting any further,” he said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBSDetroit.com for the latest.