SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – A smoky blaze that drew a lot of attention in Southfield Friday has been extinguished.

Multiple motorists called WWJ Newsradio 950 to report heavy black smoke seen for miles, coming from a residential area south of 9 Mile Rd. and east of Telegraph.

The smoke was billowing from behind a house on Berg Rd., where firefighters say what started as a brush fire spread to some debris and then a garage.

“It was a task for firefighters because they had to hose about 4,000 feet down to the house, a little bit around the street, down the driveway and then all the way in back of the garage,” WWJ’s Zahra Huber reported.

Homeowner Tomak Baksik, who is a sculptor, told Huber he was burning some wood when a gusty wind blew through, catching the flames.

Baksik said he uses plastic in his art.

“I made a bonfire of all that wood that got blown down in that windstorm, and I didn’t check it properly,” Baksik said. “I also have the plastic; I have some outdoor scrap, and I only take it to the scrap yard about once a year, so it was getting to be a decent pile and sent a glorious, huge black plume up into the air — what everybody saw.”

He apologized for being careless.

Fire officials said the burning plastic released some chemicals into the air; and, although there was a strong smell, there is not believed to be any danger to the public.

There was significant damage to the garage, but no one was injured.

The flames were out by around 1 p.m., although firefighters remained at work on the scene.


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