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Church St. Fire
Updated On: Apr 15, 2008

Vacant house on Church Street erupts in flames

At 3:30 a.m. students watch as part of the building collapses

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(RODRIGO GAYA/Daily). Half of the newly-constructed house at 922 Church St. collapsed last night in a fire. Firefighters arrived on the scene at about 3 a.m.
(RODRIGO GAYA/Daily). Half of the newly-constructed house at 922 Church St. collapsed last night in a fire. Firefighters arrived on the scene at about 3 a.m.

(RODRIGO GAYA/Daily). Firefighters douse the house with water early this morning. As of 10 a.m. this morning, firefighters were unable to determine the cause of the fire.
(RODRIGO GAYA/Daily). Firefighters douse the house with water early this morning. As of 10 a.m. this morning, firefighters were unable to determine the cause of the fire.

This morning at about 3 a.m., flames were billowing out of windows on all three floors of a newly-erected house on Church Street, between Oakland Avenue and Hill Street

Firefighters were not able to identify the cause of the fire in the vacant house as of 5 a.m.

Crowds of students in bar attire and pajamas watching across the street from whooped and hollered as ashes flew into the air and fire licked the roof.

Officers of the Ann Arbor Police Department cordoned off the entire block with fire trucks and police cars.

Ann Arbor Fire Department firefighter Steven Lowe said the building was on fire when fire trucks arrived at the scene.

Concerned the fire might spread to adjacent structures, police evacuated the residents living in the houses directly on each side of the building. Firefighters attempted to make sure that no one was trespassing inside the burning house.

"Some crews tried to go in to find out if people were there, but they pulled out pretty rapidly because of the chance the building might buckle," Lowe said.

At about 3:45, the rear corner of the building collapsed. While the tone was lighthearted for some students as they excitedly took out their cell phones to take pictures, others took the situation more seriously.

"That's my house! Where am I going to live?" said LSA junior Steven Hakim, who had signed a lease to live in the house, beginning in May.

Around 5 a.m., fire and police officials said they didn't expect the fire to be contained for several hours and were concerned the entire building might collapse.

Lowe was unable to identify the cause of the fire, but did say that gas and electric lines had been recently installed in the house.

The house, located at 922 Church Street had been under construction for over seven months, and was advertised as the "newest unit" on the management company's website.

-Daily News Editor Lisa Haidostian contributed to this report.



Ann Arbor Firefighters Local 693
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