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Detroit Firefighters Held Up By Train, Overgrown Lot

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A chimney is all that remains of this east side Detroit home after a fire. Firefighters had difficulty reaching the home because the lot was so overgrown. (credit: Mike Campbell/WWJ Newsradio 950)

A chimney is all that remains of this east side Detroit home after a fire. Firefighters had difficulty reaching the home because the lot was so overgrown. (credit: Mike Campbell/WWJ Newsradio 950)

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DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit firefighters were called out to the city’s east side Tuesday morning for a vacant house fire, but getting there was half the battle.

Fire broke out during the early morning hours at the residence on Palmetto and Cary streets, just south of the Forest Lawn Cemetery on Van Dyke Avenue.

DPD Chief Derrick Williams told WWJ’s Mike Campbell that firefighters ran into problems even before they reached the fire — getting stuck at a train.

“I was held up by the train myself, and it was a long train. There’s nothing you can do but wait it out. We had some other companies coming from some other areas, and I just sent them back now, but we finally got here,” he said.

Once the firefighters reached the scene, they were faced with another difficulty, because the vacant lot was so overgrown.

“It was hard for our men to get through the overgrowth and get to the fire. It was burning for a long time before we got here,” he said.

Eventually, crews were able to reach the fire and prevent it from spreading to neighboring homes, which are occupied.

One neighbor, who didn’t want to be named, said the city has tried to do something about the property in the past, but it hasn’t made a difference.

“It was actually a brick house set in the back there, but it’s been vacant for a good while. It’s always some dumping down there. We called and one time the city came and cleaned it up, but it’s back to dumping again,” he said.

No one was injured. A cause of the fire is under investigation.

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