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Home demolished after fire in Kalamazoo's Edison neighborhood

Kalamazoo home demolished after fire
Posted at 5:29 PM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 17:57:46-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A Kalamazoo home was leveled after an early morning fire on Friday, and it took crews nearly six hours to put it out.

It marks the second home in Kalamazoo that was demolished by the city in just four months.

The city said this is different than the previous incident and doesn't happen often.

"Officers were on scene in about two-and-a-half minutes, and noticed smoke coming from the second floor of the structure," said Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Fire Marshal Scott Brooks.

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS) responded to the vacant home around 12:17 a.m. near East Vine and Mill Streets.

"We were able to start making an attack on the resident on the fire itself. At that point, the roof started to collapse, and then the second floor started to collapse as well," said Brooks.

Fire crews said it became too unstable to send crews in and almost impossible to put the fire out completely.

"The only way to get to them was to start to take the building apart. The other side of that is simply Kalamazoo has a dangerous building code, and also the fact that there's the houses in close proximity to its neighbor's house, and the house itself was structurally unstable. The western wall of it was starting to collapse out, and [we] just wanted to make it more safe for the neighbors," said Brooks.

FOX 17 News spoke to the owner of the home on the phone, and he said he had no idea what had happened.

KDPS said they tried to contact him as well but only had his address.

"Checking through our database, checking through the city taxpaying database, and all of the resources that we have, we don't have a phone number for them, so we weren't able to call them. There will be a letter by certified mail, let him know about the incident," said Brooks.

The city of Kalamazoo released a statement regarding the fire and the decision to demolish.

"When a building is severely damaged by fire it often becomes structurally unsound and poses a risk to other properties, the public, and to KDPS. It does not happen often, but there are times when heavy equipment is used to bring down the remains of a structure after a fire.

"The damage due to the fire will be a matter between the property owner and their insurance company. The City does not pay for damages which are a result of fire.

"This is a very different situation than the event which occurred on Washington Ave. during the standoff."

Fire crews said there were no utilities turned on in the home, and neighbors said it had been vacant for about three to five months.

KDPS Fire Marshal Scott Brooks said the burned building also posed a threat to the community.

"If we have a house, that's a house that has a fire in it, there's a good possibility that then becomes attractive to either juveniles or other people that want to go inside and explore it, so we try to... the houses are always boarded up to make them safe for the community. Unfortunately, sometimes if the house is really burned, it's just we're not able to secure it enough," said Brooks.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Fire Marshal Brooks said it's suspicious in nature considering there weren't any utilities being used since the home was vacant.

Anyone with information should call KDPS at (269) 488-8911 or Silent Observer at (269) 343-2100.

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