Lens on Detroit: Suspicious fire ravages major installation at Heidelberg Project

An early morning fire tore through an abandoned housed that served as an art installation at the world-renowned Heidelberg Project on the city’s east side.

Project founder Tyree Guyton, who was upbeat and combing through the debris this morning, said the fire will give way to another creation.

“This isn’t going to stop us,” Guyton told me with a smile. “We’re moving on.”

The fire broke out around 3:30 a.m. Neighbors said they saw nothing suspicious but were sleeping at the time.

Johnny Brown used to live in the house when Guyton discovered out he was homeless.

“I got my second chance right here,” Brown said, shaking his head outside the house. “I have some good memories living in there.”

While Guyton was sifting through the remains, he found a toy fire truck.

“Look at that,” he said. “It survived the fire.”

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.