DETROIT (WWJ) – Officials say when fires like this happen, sometimes it’s best to just let it burn.

Detroit firefighters responded to a call around 3:45 a.m. Friday about a fire on Eastwood Street, near Gratiot Avenue and 7 Mile Road, and arrived on the scene to find flames ripping through three vacant homes.

(Credit: Laura Bonnell/WWJ Newsradio 950)

(Credit: Laura Bonnell/WWJ Newsradio 950)

Fire Chief Rick Gainer said his crew quickly went to work to prevent the flames from spreading to a fourth home, which was occupied.

“The fire really started heating up. When you see the steam start pouring out the roof, you know the house is going to take off so we doused it with water to keep that from happening,” Gainer told WWJ’s Laura Bonnell.

Everyone inside was able to get out safely, and firefighters were able to save the home. As for the vacant houses, Gainer said the best thing to do was just let them burn to the ground.

“At this point, I’m just going to let it burn because if we put it out, it looks like this one might get going again. The risk reward is great and my guys could get hurt,” he said.

Gainer suspects the fires were set on purpose, although an official cause has not yet been determined.

“They just don’t start out of the blue when the house doesn’t have electric and it doesn’t have gas. I mean, something has to be the igniter — it’s not just luck, you know, there’s no lightning, it’s a cold night,” he said.

An investigation is ongoing.


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