HIGHLAND PARK (WWJ) – Rare historic mantels, doors and doorknobs, even the old squash courts from the Detroit Athletic Club — those are just some of a warehouse full of Detroit historical artifacts that went up in smoke during Wednesday’s warehouse fire in Highland Park.

“Like the Detroit Athletic Club squash courts — all that burned at this point — mantels from Highland Park and the list just goes on and on,” said Deputy Director Jeremy Haynes.

The artifacts are used by Reclaim Detroit, a non-profit that employs two dozen people to re-purpose items from abandoned buildings into furniture and other goods. Haynes tells WWJ the rebuilding begins now.

[PHOTOS: Massive Fire Rips Through Warehouse In Highland Park]

“I don’t expect that we’ll be stopping – we’ll be working with all the different folks out there – that are offering support to keep us moving. So at this moment I don’t see us shutting down – we are going to have the crews in and we have an auxiliary storage warehouse that we’ll be settling into,” said Haynes.

He said the group has had offers of help from across the country and he’s hopeful that they will weather this storm.

Haynes said they are in need of woodworking tools, safety gear and a workshop to work out of. To support Reclaim Detroit’s recovery effort, click here.

(Credit: Bill Szumanski/WWJ Newsradio 950)

(Credit: Bill Szumanski/WWJ Newsradio 950)


The fire was still smoldering Thursday morning, prompting officials to close nearby schools as a precaution. Area residents evacuated after the fire took off Wednesday have still not returned to their homes.

Detroit Fire Battalion Chief Randy Gibson said it could be a week before the fire is fully extinguished.

“There’s still a lot of hot spots in there that we can’t get to,” Gibson said, noting that crews are still working from the perimeter. “We’ll need all that heavy equipment to move all this out the way so we can get in there.”

A Boil Water Advisory remains in effect for the city due to low water pressure. Water used for drinking and food preparation should be boiled for at least five minutes at a rolling boil. Water used for baths, showers, toilets, etc. may be used without boiling.

No injuries have been reported. A cause of the fire has yet to be determined.



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