DETROIT (WWJ) – An old café in southwest Detroit that used to be a popular hangout for the city’s police and firefighters has been completely destroyed by fire.
The blaze took off early Wednesday morning at the Delray Café along West Jefferson at the corner of Post Street, north of the Rouge River Bridge.
Fire Chief Gene Biondo said crews thought they were getting the upper hand on the fire, and then the roof caved in.
“We were waiting for the collapse because it was going completely throughout. Then the roof fell in and it blew out, shot up about 150 feet in the air and then at that point we had control of it,” he told WWJ’s Mike Campbell.
The café has been closed for years, although the building would sporadically host special events.
Michelle Thomas, who lives near the bar, said she heard something suspicious before the fire took off.
“I heard a loud explosion in the front, like the door was kicked in and you something hitting in there, and my dog started barking and I got up and it was in flames. So, I’m about sure somebody threw a cocktail in there, ain’t no doubt,” she said.
Biondo said the fire has nothing to do with the 3-day “Angels’ Night” campaign, an effort to help prevent arson in the city ahead of Halloween.
“No, are you kidding? I tell you, everybody in October wants to blame Angels’ Night. It’s just another day in the city, that’s all,” he said.
It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the fire, which reduced the building to a pile of rubble.
No injuries were reported. An investigation is ongoing.
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