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Wind-whipped fire destroys Mich. shopping plaza

Fire Commissioner Skip McAdams said the fire burned for about 90 minutes before being brought under control

By Mitch Hotts
The Macomb Daily, Mount Clemens, Mich.

WARREN, Mich. — A windswept second-alarm fire destroyed a 12-unit strip mall Wednesday night on Groesbeck Highway in Warren, according to fire officials.

Fire Commissioner Skip McAdams said the blaze broke out about 7 p.m. at the Frazho Plaza on Groesbeck near Frazho Road and burned for about 90 minutes before being brought under control. It spread through a common attic.

Thick plumes of black smoke were visible for miles as fire crews worked to contain the fire before flames broke through the roof at several spots.

No injuries were reported.

McAdams said the entire 24,000-square-foot structure was a total loss.

“Once those winds of 30 mph and gusting even higher hit it, it was off to the races and we could not keep up with it,” he said. “We lost the entire building, which is unusual for Warren .”

The shopping center included about eight tenants, with four vacancies. Two businesses were still open when the fire was first noticed.

According to Google Maps, several businesses are located in the plaza — including Country’s Barber Godz, Changing Faces Beauty Salon , and American Motorsports Shop .

Warren fire crews were met with heavy smoke as they arrived on the scene, officials said. But once the fire was exposed to oxygen, the building began to collapse. That’s when firefighters withdrew and took a defensive stance, according to the fire commissioner.

Warren’s fire marshal does not believe any accelerants were involved, but McAdams said a preliminary investigation won’t begin until Wednesday morning. Fire officials didn’t see anything that leads them to believe there was any criminal intent involved, McAdams said.

“We contacted a board-up company to begin working on part of the building and the police will remain on the scene to maintain custody,” McAdams said. “We need to determine if the building is structurally sound to do a full investigation.”

Police reopened the roadway to motorists about 9 p.m.

Warren firefighters were assisted by the Center Line , Detroit Arsenal , Eastpointe , Roseville and Sterling Heights fire departments.


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