Suspicious fire tears through ‘Taxi House’ at Heidelberg Project early Sunday

The Taxi House was set afire Saturday morning.
The Taxi House was set afire Saturday morning. Photo taken before the fire.

The eighth art-festooned house at the world-renowned Heidelberg Project was damaged Sunday morning in yet another suspicious fire.

The fire broke out at 7:15 a.m. at the vacant Taxi House at 3412 Mt. Elliot. Firefighters requested an extra engine to put out the blaze.

The Taxi House is owned by the city of Detroit.

The fire came less than two months after someone fire-bombed the abandoned Birthday Cake House.

The ATF and Detroit Fire Department have been investigating the arsons, which started a little more than a year ago. At the time, the Heidelberg Project was raising money and ended up collecting more than $50,000 for surveillance.

The nonprofit’s handling of its properties and the fundraiser incensed donors.

The Heidelberg Project held another fundraiser in September and October, when two more art-decorated houses were torched. The nonprofit raised just $585.

With the $50,000, the nonprofit was supposed to buy cameras and hire a security guard. The Heidelberg Project dropped the security guard after about a month and now relies on cameras.

It wasn’t clear this morning whether the cameras captured the latest fire.

The Heidelberg Project has not commented as of 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

Read more about the Heidelberg Project and the creator, Tyree Guyton.

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.

  • marco baroli

    “art-festooned” more like art-festered.

  • Alan Hejl

    About a year ago, after the first round of fires, I went to see the Heidelberg Project and met Tyree as he was walking around there. He told my friend and I the tale of how he had a vision of the first fire in his dreams while he was in Switzerland on vacation and that “it was meant to be”. I’m fairly certain its some kind of insurance scheme.

  • maggiemay

    Gosh, what a surprise. Not.

  • There’s a story behind these fires, and I want to know what it is. Anyone care to speculate wildly?

    • bebow

      Spontaneous combustion?

    • disqus_vhLozcit3f

      I think it’s interesting that nobody wants to put forward Guyton’s name as being the suspect. Is that wild enough in terms of speculation?