Arson Suspected In Fire That Ripped Through 3 Houses

DETROIT (WWJ) – Firefighters battled equipment problems alongside a blaze that tore through three abandoned homes on Detroit’s west side.

Fire broke out during the early morning hours Thursday at a vacant residence on Northlawn Street near Intervale Street, in the Lodge Freeway/Wyoming area.

Working against firefighters was a dead-end street that limited access and a non-working fire hydrant, forcing them to string hoses down two blocks to reach the necessary water for the job.

Fire Chief Jon King said he immediately called up a second engine as a backstop after reaching the scene.

“On arrival, it was two dwellings. By the time I got here it was three and it could have easily been five dwellings. Matter of fact, as close as some of these are, it could have been all the way down to the house right there that is occupied,” King told WWJ’s Ron Dewey.

Darren Terhune, who lives across the street, called the fire “one heck of a wake up call.”

“I was woke up by my dog, my dog was barking like crazy, and when I came out I had seen at the house across the street was engulfed in flames, and it was actually catching both houses on each side of it on fire. So, I’m like ‘Oh man,’ I’m like, ‘It’s real crazy,’ and I seen everybody coming outside calling 911 and whatnot,” he said.

King said luckily, no one was injured in the fire. Still, residents like Stacey Crawford are now worried that the burned out shell of a house will create further blight in their neighborhood.

“This is a block that kind of tries to take care of the properties, you know, so we try to watch out. So, I just hope that we can get someone to come through and take care of it so it’s not just another abandoned house left,” she said.

King said while arson is suspected, the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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