DETROIT (WWJ) – Firefighters battled to get the upper hand on a blaze at a home in Detroit’s historic Boston-Edison district.
The fire broke out early Wednesday morning at a home on Longfellow Street, just west of Woodward Avenue on the city’s west side.
Reporting live from the scene, WWJ’s Ron Dewey said the two-story brick home was occupied at time of fire by as many as seven art students from out-of-town. Fire officials say all occupants got out safely, without any injuries.
Fire Captain Robert Tucker said the fact that all of the home’s occupants made it out, coupled with the roof collapsing, kept his crews from having to go inside.
“From that point on, the roof lost its structural integrity and the dormers on either side fell inward. That’s where the collapse was; the collapse was inward, not outward. That’s the inherent danger to my guys, that’s why we did an exterior attack,” he said.
Neighbor Beverly Lemond is glad the students got out safely, but said they shouldn’t have been there in the first place because the district’s homes aren’t supposed to be rented out. The students had reportedly been staying at the home for just a few weeks.
“They were out here Sunday when I went out, bringing my car in the garage, and they were like, riding bikes, great big bikes and stuff. I’m like well what is this, I had just never seen, it was like a commune, they were like gypsies,” Lemond said.
“It’s easy to tell you that you’re an art student and the owner of the house is in New York. Who goes, if I’m going out-of-town, I’m going to leave somebody responsible in my home to take care of it. I’m not just going to leave seven people, oh no,” she added.
The house is now a total loss. Lemond said its a shame such a stately home is now left in ruins.
A cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The Boston-Edison district contains more than 900 homes, many of which were built between 1905 and 1925. The neighborhood was once occupied by famous locals such as Henry Ford, James Couzens, Horace Rackham, Sebastian Kresge and Joe Louis.
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