11 houses, 2 buildings burn in Detroit during first 12 hours of Devils’ Night period

Apartment fire at Gartner and Center on Detroit's east side at the start of the Devils' Night period. Photos by Steve Neavling.
Apartment fire at Gartner and Center on Detroit’s east side at the start of the Devils’ Night period. Photos by Steve Neavling.

Fire broke out in 11 houses, an apartment building and a commercial structure during the first 12 hours of Devils’ Night.

The three-day Devil’s Night period runs from 7 p.m. Saturday through midnight on Halloween.

Saturday night was relatively quiet until 11:15 p.m., when a suspicious fire sent flames through the roof of a vacant house at Proctor and Kirkwood on the west side.

Fire at Gartland and Central.
Fire at Gartland and Central.

After two small house fires, firefighters responded to an intentionally set blaze inside a vacant house at Field and E. Canfield at 2:14 a.m. A half hour later, firefighters battled a suspected arson fire in a vacant three-story apartment at Gartland and Central on the west side. Flames tore through the roof but were knocked down by quick-acting firefighters.

At 3:48 a.m., a large home was gutted by a fire, which spread to a neighboring house at Chalmers and Freud on the east side.

Another house fire broke out at Rochelle and Celestine on the east side at 4:39 a.m. The cause was unknown. About an hour later, a suspicious fire broke out inside a vacant house at Maiden and Roseberry on the east side.

At 6:30 a.m., firefighters arrived to a burning commercial building.

For videos of some of the fires, check out “Alex the Fire Chaser” on Periscope.

In all, about 17 fires broke out from 7 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday. Those include a car, rubbish, a dumpster and kitchen fires.

Traditionally, Oct. 30 and early Halloween are the busiest periods during Devils’ Night.

The number of fires on Devils’ Night have been steadily declining since the 1990s. Last year, the city had fewer fires on Devils’ Night than any year since the 1970s.

The Fourth of July now outpaces Devils’ Night for arson fires in Detroit.

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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.