Other fireworks: Detroit houses burn over weekend
Night time skies lit up across the nation as communities celebrated Independence Day last night, but in some Detroit neighborhoods the orange glow of burning buildings overshadowed red, white and blue bursts of fireworks.
In addition to the 42 reported fires this year, last year the city saw 37 fires between July 4 and July 5, almost double the 15-20 fires that occur in the city on average every day. Detroit Fire Department Captain Steve Varnas said he believes the spike is related to people celebrating the holiday.
“It’s a holiday, people are out drinking and blowing up fire crackers and they probably get carried away and do some things they should not,” Varnas said.
Varnas said that fire department teams are investigating Sunday night’s blazes, and said it is unclear whether or not any of the fires were arson-related.
“When our teams go out and make an investigation, they are the ones who can rule it [a fire] arson,” Varnas said. “Until then, it’s a suspicious fire.”
Mike Fields, 21, was sleeping in his house on the 3100 block of East Ferry Avenue around 1:20 a.m. when two nearby houses went up in flames.
“I didn’t see anything, just woke up and one of the houses was smoking,” Fields said. “My aunty told me someone set it on fire, which it could have been. Either way it’s nonsense to me.”
Fields said both of the homes were vacant at the time of the fires.
Chance Rice, 25, also lives near the houses on East Ferry. Rice said he called the fire department, and was unimpressed by what he called a 30-minute response time.
“All I know is the bitch went up in smoke and we called 911,” Rice said. “They got here and were looking around for a fire hydrant. By the time they found it the trees was on fire and the house was burned down to the ground.”
According to Varnas, the department’s response time to the fire on East Ferry was slower than normal because fire teams were battling other infernos in the area. However the department arrived within 12 minutes of being called, not 30.
“Usually our response time is under five minutes,” Varnas said. “Twelve minutes is a pretty long time for us, and 12 minutes can seem like 30 when you are staring at a burning house.”
Still, the department’s response left Rice feeling uneasy.
“I just feel like, shit, the fire department is right around the corner and they should have got here faster,” Rice said. “If someone had been in there, they would have been dead.”