DETROIT (WWJ) – A two-alarm fire has destroyed a historic church in downtown Detroit.

The fire broke out around 6 a.m. Saturday at First Unitarian Church on Woodward Avenue at Edmund, just a few blocks north of the Fox Theater and Comerica Park.

First Battalion Fire Chief Kevin Kortas said crews had difficulty fighting the blaze as soon as they arrived on the scene.

“We’re having trouble with the water pressure, but we got ahold of the water board and they’re supposed to be coming here to help us out a little bit,” Kortas told WWJ’s Beth Fisher. “Right now, it’s going to be leaving water on it all day, it’s going to be a long process.”

Firefighters have contained the blaze, which caused the roof to collapse. All that remains is the building’s front and side walls.

“We can’t let anybody inside to get to it, we have to fight it from the outside,” Kortas said. “Everything has potential for collapse and we don’t want anybody to get hurt so we’re going to stay far away from it, hopefully get more water pressure and just keep pumping it full of water.”

Kortas said the cause of the fire remains under investigation. No injuries were reported.

The fire drew several spectators, like Maria Blunt and Lamar Torrence.

“I noticed it from work, I work downtown and there was tons of black smoke and by the time I got here, the roof was completely gone,” Blunt said.

“It’s very sad,” said Torrence. “It’s a landmark and a beautiful building, it wasn’t bothering anybody.”

The church, which was built in 1889, has been closed for several years. Known for its Romanesque architecture, the church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.


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