DETROIT (WWJ) – A two-alarm fire at a strip club in downtown Detroit is now under control.
The fire started early Wednesday morning at The Grind Gentlemen’s Club on Griswold Street near Grand River Avenue, just south of Grand Circus Park.
At one point, flames were shooting through the roof of the three-story building and thick smoke could be seen from blocks away. Stephanie Churra, who works at a different club in the area, said she had just finished her shift for the night when she saw massive flames rising from the building.
“I just saw a bunch of firefighters and I was really worried that it was my friend’s building, and I was running and then I saw it was The Grind and it was on fire. Like, right now it’s just smoking, but it was, like, the whole back end was completely in huge, huge flames,” she said.
Firefighters quickly responded to the scene around 5 a.m. and were able to get an upper hand on the blaze, although the building appears to be a total loss. Fire Battalion Chief John King told WWJ’s Laura Bonnell nearly 50 firefighters were initially involved.
“We have since set up tower operations, with no members inside,” he said, noting that about 20 firefighters are still on the scene over three hours later. “At this time, we are aware of no civilians inside the building at all.”
King said the building is unsafe for his crews to be inside, so firefighters are using rigs on the ground and bucket lifts to attack the flames from above.
Fire Chief of Arson Charles Simms said it could be a while before investigators figure out what started the fire.
“We don’t know much right now, it’s still early on in the investigation,” he said. “At this time, we’re just collecting information, trying to canvass the area, trying to collect some surveillance video.”
No injuries were reported. An investigation is ongoing.