Video: Historic Detroit church engulfed in flames by time firefighters arrived

First Unitarian

The historic First Unitarian Church of Detroit went up in flames so fast this weekend that fire was bursting through the roof and every window as firefighters arrived within minutes of the call.

Investigators believe the fire on Woodward was intentionally set.

The 124-year-old Romanesque Revival building is across the street from the future site of the Red Wings arena and adjoining entertainment district.
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Investigators were told the owner,┬áSalim Kemenko, a property speculator who owns a vacant lot just south of the church, wanted to demolish the building but couldn’t because of its status as a historic site.

City leaders said Kemenko did not request demolition permits from the Detroit Historic District Commission or the Building Department.

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.