BIRMINGHAM (WWJ) – Firefighter have extinguished a blaze in a building in downtown Birmingham.
Fire officials said the fire broke out on the uppers floors of the 555 building on Woodward Ave., south of 15 Mile Rd., as some workers were welding Thursday morning.
The building houses luxury apartments on the upper floors with a yoga studio and the Triple Nickle below.
“The fire started on the fourteenth floor, went up to the fifteenth floor. We’re checking for any injuries on those floors and we’re working our way down,” said Birmingham Fire Chief John Connaughton at noon.
Connaughton told WWJ’s Lauira Bonnell he believes that everyone had been evacuated and no one was hurt, but the sweep of the building would continue as a precaution.
It’s unclear at this time how much damage was done.
One local resident was leaving her yoga class, which was not evacuated, when she noticed the upper floors were on fire as she walked outside.
Tammy Lichtman was on her way to work when she saw “really dark smoke” billowing from the building.
“So I called 911 and I said, ‘I think there’s a fire,’ but I was like a half-a-mile away. And they said, ‘We’ve got it. Crews are on their way,” she said. “…But there was smoke pouring out, I think it was the second (floor) from the top of the building area that was on fire.”
Fire crews from surrounding communities were called in to assist, including Royal Oak and Madison Heights.
They were packing up their hoses before noon, but — although the fire was out —Connaughton said Birmingham firefighters would be keeping busy at the scene for at least the next few hours.
Woodward Ave. remains shut down southbound between Lincoln and Maple (15 Mile) due to the fire. Old Woodward was closed as well but has since reopened. WWJ Traffic Reporter Lorna Stevens suggests motorists try Adams Rd. as a possible alternate.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.