Fire destroys former Gold Dollar Bar in Midtown Detroit

Image 1 of 2

The former Gold Dollar Bar in Detroit's Cass Corridor caught fire Monday night.

About 40 firefighters were at the scene beating back flames by ladder, unable to go inside the historic hangout. There were no injuries and by 11 p.m. fire crews had left the scene.

"When we got here, very heavy fire throughout the entire building," said Dep. Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell, who added that crews took a defensive position. "They got the front door open and they realized that we could not go in due to the danger."

The building on Cass between Charlotte and Peterboro has been vacant for years and has a long history - it was a drag queen bar for years.  And the Grammy-winning band The White Stripes broke in, there 

The Illitches own the former Gold Dollar Bar. The fire is likely suspicious, the Detroit Fire Department said the gas and power service had been cut there six years ago.

"It could be, but I am not saying that right now until our investigators get in here," said Fornell. "When you get a vacant building, there's nothing around, it's like, yes, pretty much (arson)."

Olympia Development released a statement: 

"We are aware of the fire at the Gold Dollar building. We will cooperatively work with the Detroit Fire Department to determine the cause. Safety and controlling the fire is the top priority tonight."