Arsonists busted trying to burn down vacant Detroit school (with audio)

Listen above to the audio of the communication between the Detroit Fire Department and dispatch. 

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Update: The suspects were girls, ages 11-14. Click here to read story. 

Quick-acting police caught several arsonists in the act of trying to burn down a vacant elementary school on Detroit’s east side Sunday evening.

Detroit Public Schools Police arrested several arsonists who lit different sections of Van Zile Elementary School at 2915 E. Outer Dr. on fire shortly before 8 p.m.

“By the time the Detroit Fire Department arrived a few minutes after the call, the arsonists were in custody,” DPS spokesman Steve Wasko told me.

The fires were quickly extinguished without any major damage reported.

DPS officials declined to discuss the fire today, referring all questions to the district’s communications office, which has not yet returned our calls with more information. Police said they could not comment on the arrests without approval from the communications office.

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.