Fire tears through buildings in southwest Detroit

- Flames race through vacant buildings in southwest Detroit sending a huge plume of smoke and ash into the air Wednesday.

Crews battled the fire for hours, trying to protect the businesses nearby.  The blaze burned through three vacant buildings on Michigan Avenue near Martin, now an investigation is on to determine if it was arson. 

"We got our resources out and did what we could," said Battalion Chief Gary Fisher, Detroit Fire Department. "No one was injured."

While the buildings were vacant, FOX 2 heard from numerous people at the scene that it's a common place for people to seek shelter.

"There is a lot of homeless that walk up down here," said John Langlois who lives nearby.

Another man claimed he was sleeping there last night, woke up to smell of smoke and saw a person running from the building. Firefighters say because the building went up so quickly, it leads them to believe it was no accident.

When firefighters arrived, the buildings were fully engulfed, said Fisher.

The trick was getting the fire to stop at all. On one side of the fire were businesses, the other vacant buildings."

Firefighters say they are confident the two occupied buildings attached to the three on fire will only sustain smoke damage.

The smoke pouring from the buildings blocked Michigan Avenue from view at times, diverting travelers.

The fire department say this could be the start of a very busy weekend with Halloween coming on Monday.  They hope for everyone's sake they are wrong about that.

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