The fire destroyed the building in the 11 thousand block of Canfield Street, which is near the intersection of St. Jean Street. Firefighters worked for hours to fight the fire, but part of the building collapsed so firefighters had to retreat.
"At some point, it becomes too dangerous to go in and put it out, so we just try to stop it at a certain point and control it from there and let the rest of it burn," says Detroit Fire Capt. Mark Simmons.
Nine families are now homeless, many with children.
"I've only been here a year, and it was hard for me to get here. It was hard for me to get here, and now everything that I've worked for is gone," says Latoria Williams. The 23-year-old is the sole provider for her 3-year-old daughter and her sickly mother.
To make matters worse, Tuesday's frigid temperatures turned the fire scene into a deep freeze, including the fire hoses. The back of one of the fire trucks also became covered in a thick layer of ice and is now frozen to the ground.
"We're going end up chipping that out," says Simmons. "We got to keep [the rigs] running, keep water pumping. All our lines have to stay open so the line doesn't freeze solid."
The fire marshall has ordered an emergency demolition of the building as it is a safety threat to those in the area.
The cause of the fire wasn't immediately known.
The Red Cross is assisting those nine families who are now displaced.