Car accident, collapsed building left untouched by city of Detroit for days

All photos by Steve Neavling
A car stops to see if anyone is trapped in an accident on Linwood.

On Detroit’s west side, just six blocks from where the 1967 riots broke out, a battered car is wedged into the corner of a partially collapsed two-story commercial building on Linwood, buried by piles of bricks and concrete.

For three days, people have been stopping to see if someone was trapped or injured inside the crushed silver sedan.

The car has been empty since shortly after midnight Sunday morning, when more than two dozen firefighters and medics painstakingly removed the critically injured driver, saving his life.

Since then, the scene has been the same. One side of the city-owned building is collapsed, debris scattered across the sidewalk and the side of the road at the intersection of Gladstone. Firefighters have been called back to the scene at least three times because 911 callers thought someone was still inside the battered sedan.

All photos by Steve Neavling
All photos by Steve Neavling

The Fire Department requested a city crew to address the collapse early Sunday morning but a dispatcher told them no one would be available until Monday, which came and went without anything happening.

When asked about the building late Monday afternoon, Mayor Mike Duggan’s office said it would investigate.

The city wasn’t as casual when the abandoned First Unitarian Church on Woodward burned down between downtown and Midtown in May. The church was still smoldering when the city’s emergency contractor demolished most of what was left of the building.

In many neighborhoods, dangerous buildings are left to rot, even after they are charred in a fire.

RELATED:  Burned-down houses become tombs for countless squatters in Detroit

A silver sedan crashed into this vacant building at Linwood & Gladstone.
A silver sedan crashed into this vacant building at Linwood & Gladstone.

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.

  • Charles

    left untouched for days, kind of like this story left on muckraker’s front page for months

    • Charles

      Did I say months? Make that well over a year now.

  • Allison Woods-Perry Westerburg

    I wish they would just make it easier to buy these dilapidated buildings.

    • Deanne Durham

      Who would buy if they did? By the time the scrappers get done there not much to rebuild

  • bebow

    Demolition crews are in the neighborhoods, but they are taking down only properties that couldn’t be sold at auction for $500. Numerous vacant, stripped, open to trespass, blighted properties that have been on the dangerous buildings list for years will remain standing. Lets’ see the dangerous buildings list and compare it with scheduled demolitions in Third World Detroit. Let’s hear why there have been no office conferences and City Council proceedings on these dangerous properties. Didn’t Dan Gilbert say he will remove the mess or die trying? There’s no point in coming through here and leaving most of the problem unresolved. A blight emergency has been declared. Why is there no meaningful action following it? Someone needs to start explaining.

  • Gary

    The city of Detroit is extremely messed up. Should be no surprise that this sort of ridiculous shit happens all the time

  • nitrodrip

    The church was in prime location where development is happening. This is off the beaten path of business development sort of like the neighborhoods as well as infrastructure. The things that count to the city is will it be seen by tourist and if not it will not be addressed.

    • bebow

      That’s why only 38% are paying property taxes now. Hope that’s all good, too.

  • bebow

    Every neighborhood has a future, but it doesn’t include public services. So, what’s new here for the majority of residents since Duggan mounted the throne? The message hasn’t changed; it’s still Y’ALL DON’T COUNT UNLESS IT’S VOTE HARVESTING TIME.

    • Billy Blake

      Right On!