Detroit firefighters attacked by rocks, bottles during wild day of arsons

Residents hurled rocks and bottles at Detroit firefighters as they extinguished a suspicious blaze in a vacant house Friday night, accentuating a wild 24-hour period in which fires broke out in 25 homes, nine cars, a school and an apartment building.

Of those 36 fires, at least 29 were suspicious.

Shortly before 9 p.m., firefighters arrived at a vacant house fire at 14519 Robson. Soon after, residents began chucking bottles and rocks at the firefighters and their rigs on a block devoured by blight. buy plavix online no prescription

“I need as many police as possible,” Chief 7 told dispatchers. “I have civilians attacking firefighters and FEOs, throwing bottles, rocks and whatnot.”

About 10 minutes later, two police cars and a helicopter descended on the area. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the assailants were found.

Fire_9505The first arson fire on Friday broke out inside an occupied house at McKinney and Grayton on the east side at 2:55 a.m. Over the next 21 hours, the fires were relentless, sometimes spreading to neighboring homes.
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At 12:35 p.m., a suspicious fire inside a vacant house spread to an occupied home and abandoned apartment building, devouring all three structures at St. John and Ewer in southwest Detroit. Arson is suspected in a fire that damaged Alexander Macomb Elementary School on the east side near Chandler Park at 4:10 p.m.

Between 6:45 p.m. and 8:20 p.m., two fires broke out one block from each other at E. Kirby and Grandy, an area already decimated by arsons and abandonment.

The fires present a significant challenge to a city struggling to curtail a six-decade population decline. The fires are burning out neighborhood cores, accelerating blight and ratcheting up insurance rates.
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Here’s a map of Friday’s fires.

View Aug. 29 fires in a full screen map

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.