Highland Park residents not allowed to return home following warehouse inferno

The flames were high, the air toxic, as a warehouse becomes an inferno in Highland Park.

It could be days before the fire is completely extinguished and those who were told to evacuate, are still not allowed back in their homes.

"I jumped out and grabbed my clothes because that's the first thing is getting out of there," said Irene Robinson. "Because a lot of people don't know that fire moves, so you better move with it."

Flames tore through a warehouse on Hamilton and Manchester Parkway and sent nearby residents like 92-year-old Irene Robinson scrambling. Now she's regretting it.

"I just never thought to grab my phonebook," she said. "Because I thought I could go back to my building and then I get over and say 'oh my god' I don't have my phone book."

Now she's hoping and praying her caregiver Gwen Cook is watching as she and several others wait at Soul Harvest Ministries for the flames to die down and the smoke to clear.

"They were displaced, unfortunately some had to leave right away," said a worker with Soul Harvest. "They didn't have anywhere to go, so the buses brought them over here our doors are open for them and they'll be coming all night."

And they may be there for a while.

The fire started around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. Propane tanks and other combustibles inside the 500,000 square foot warehouse, exploded throughout the day.

The nonprofit Reclaim Detroit, one of many businesses that called this place home, is destroyed.

"We kind of got things under control," said Kevin Coney, fire chief.

FOX 2: "Is this going to be burning for another two to three days?"

"It's a possibility because it's an older building," Coney said. "It's a commercial building and we don't know all the combustibles inside of the place."

The flames sent up black smoke that could be seen for miles. Hotspots kept it going hours after the fire began and
the winds pushed the smoke east and caused businesses to close, turned shopping centers into ghost towns and darkened Woodward long before sundown.

The boil water advisory is no longer in effect.

All of the folks displaced have been directed to go to Soul Harvest Ministries on Woodward and Church.

There are still no details available yet how the fire began.

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