Another art-festooned house burns near Heidelberg Project


Just days after the Heidelberg Project launched a new fundraiser, an art-festooned house was intentionally burned early this morning on Detroit’s east side.

The popular yellow house belongs to Tim Burke, a sculptor who works with salvaged materials.

Fire tore through the house on Heidelberg Street after investigators believe the home was doused with gas.

The nonprofit that runs the Heidelberg Project raised more than $50,000 last year for a security guard and surveillance cameras after intentionally set fires tore through five houses last year. The nonprofit dropped the security guard after about a month and now relies on cameras.

It wasn’t immediately clear this morning whether the cameras caught the arsonist in the act. The house, which was heavily damaged, is situated in the center of the project.

“As we’re still gathering information on the fire, we will be sure to post any updates whenever possible,” the Heidelberg Project posted on Facebook.

Burned last year were the “House of Soul,” “War House,” “Penny House,” “Obstruction of Justice House” and “Clock House.” In March, someone burned down the signature Party Animal House.

The ATF was investigating.

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.

  • maggiemay

    Why is this news? Obviously the Heidelberg Project is going away.

  • adrian platts

    I met Tim once while looking around the area. Nice guy. Very willing to talk about the things he’d gathered together and what he felt their significance was. Sad to hear that this location has burned.

  • marco baroli

    Ugly as shit hit with a stick, the “art’ that is.

  • Max Zetta

    This is getting ridiculous. You would think the fundraising monies accumulated that they could properly secure these structures. What else can be done to protect these monuments??

    • Kelley Girlw

      Um, they could use the money they raised to pay the security guard they said they would hire. 🙁 I am sure they could get two or 3 guards with that $50,000+ they raised last November.

      • Rev Karen Gates

        Have you checked out how much security companies charge? Put the figures to it even if it were a personal hire situation: 24 x 7 x 52 x $15 = $131,040 in 1 year. I would assume you wouldn’t expect the security guard to work for less than what people are fighting for a fast food worker… would you?

        • Kelley Girlw

          The fires have only been happening at night, so that’s security for night only. And, while I support a fair minimum wage, I think $15 exceeds fair.

          • Bruce Channell

            What is really amazing is the fact that there is 1 of the 5 solar powered lights and cameras on the lot next door to this house and it is about 15 to 20 feet from where the fire was started.I would like to know what,if anything,was that camera trained on!It should be focused on what remains of that project like this house for example.Was anyone actually monitoring those 5 cameras?You would think that since all of the fires were started at night that someone would be monitoring the cameras then!Actually get some use out of them for the money that was raised to buy and install the 5 lights and cameras!